Fulfilling Lives in Islington and Camden

Fulfilling Lives in Islington & Camden (FLIC) is an eight-year Lottery funded learning programme closing in May 2022, designed to support people experiencing multiple disadvantage and affect system change to improve the experience and outcomes for people accessing services.

Too often the voices of people experiencing multiple disadvantage aren't heard. Putting clients at the centre of everything we do is key to our work. Our support service is intensive, trauma-informed and led by the experiences and insights of our clients.

We work in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies across both boroughs to improve services for people with multiple needs and drive systemic change, influencing how services are designed and delivered.

Peer mentoring is invaluable, knowing that our peer mentors may have similar experiences to themselves, helps our clients open up, feel heard and inspired by their progress. Three of our Peers share their accounts of a typical day mentoring... 

Leyla 
I joined FLIC’s peer mentor programme over a year ago as I really wanted to help women. I think women can often be mistreated and carry lots of shame and stigma.   

Today my client and I attended an assessment at a drug service. The probing questions were difficult for my client, we had to stop the assessment due to the lack of trauma-informed care and to check my client was ok.  

I understand assessments are essential for the service to recognise the needs of their patients. However, peers must ensure they are holding empathy for the client and considering their needs and wellbeing at all times, this is essential for building a relationship. 

Over time my client has really softened to me. She confides in me and trusts me which is a huge step. I have also realised that I have grown as a worker and as a person, other workers now come to me and ask how to connect with my client.   

I give honest compliments to my client, as this helps them see their strengths. It is important to encourage and build a sense of pride in your client, and help them to see how far they have come. 

My client is an amazing artist and poet. Though she struggles she still has her creativity, it is something within her, she is always able to express herself even through tough times. She offers such kindness to the world when she may have not received that from others. I am inspired by what a beautiful human being my client is. My client's smile lights up the room. 

I have learnt to switch off at the end of the day. I am now able to leave difficult feelings at work. I care deeply for my clients, but I can only do what I can do in that moment.  We must empower our clients to take responsibility for when we can't be there.   

People think I am timid when they first meet me and friends and family did not believe I could handle client work. I have shown that I have strength in many ways. I have empathy, fierceness, courage, and an assertive voice and am also sensitive to client's experiences. What people have identified in me as weaknesses I have shown to be my strength. 


Anna
 
Today has been a little tricky, my client was feeling very stressed. I try my best to reconnect with her and help her feel calm. She has difficulty with feeing anxious, and so do I.  

Sometimes I feel like I do my best to connect, but difficulties and experiences in my client's past make it a challenge. Recognising that clients may have had traumatic experiences is important as it can often be a reason for unpredictable behaviour. 

I've noticed that sometimes when clients are struggling, they take it out on the people closest to them and those who offer them support. I have seen that today, but I have also seen how my client can later take responsibility and understand her emotions  

Today my client really struggled with mobility issues, but she stuck with it, and we got to her hair appointment on time. She had a great experience at the salon and left with a spring in her step, feeling uplifted and confident. 

Sometimes it is the little things that can help you connect to someone, like carrying a client's bag or taking it slowly if they're struggling walking. It can make all the difference.  

I see myself in my client. Recovery can be a real struggle, though she keeps on going. She is not giving up and is taking big leaps to improve her life  

My client is hopeful for her future. She sees a positive future ahead. From my experience I know it is never too late. We worked on budgeting, it feels great to be able to support someone and to know I have made a positive impact. 

Reflecting on my time as a peer mentor - it gives me satisfaction to know I can help others. I feel grateful for all that I have. I have learnt to believe in myself, that I am intelligent, I can learn new things and that I am brave in the face of new challenges! 


Rob
 
Hey there! I'm Rob, one of the FLIC Peer Mentors and I've been part of the programme for 10 months. In that time, COVID19 restrictions have had a big impact on the mentoring I’ve been able to do and bad weather adds to the difficulty. However, now things have opened up I’m looking forward to us getting on track and working on his addiction. 

Today my client was in good spirits, we chatted over a cup of coffee. He is still up for attending Narcotic Anonymous meetings which was music to my ears. He is determined to battle his addiction and we’ll be there to support each step of the way  

Thanks to all the green space in London, we were able to spend time enjoying the sunshine. Being outdoors is something my client enjoys, so we discussed the possibility of him doing some gardening volunteering – Wolves Lane Centre, Wood Green, could be a possibility. 

My hope for my client is that he can stay clean and pursue gardening, after today I'm hopeful that we will be able to work towards this together. 

After 3 hours together I say goodbye to my client and head home, we've agreed to meet next week, and I am looking forward to it. I leave feeling positive about today, it is a great feeling knowing you are trying your best to help someone. 
 
Reflecting on my peer mentoring journey - I am growing as a person and gaining more confidence with each week. I'm pleased my experiences allow me to help someone else and I'm looking forward to continuing to do so. 

 

Want to find out more about our Peer Mentor programme? Just drop an email to Joe Atiase at [email protected].