PeRSuN Peer – Recovery – Service – User – Network


In conjunction with Wandsworth and Richmond Drug and Alcohol Consortium, our remit is to create a referral pathway for Peer mentors, Volunteers and Service User Reps. The objective of this is to support individuals who feel they want to give back to the community.


The service is also designed to support workers in the Consortium in delivering their services to the clients that they are currently working with.

Service User Council (SUC)


What is the Service user council?


It is a collective of ex-service users from the consortium coming together to support clients in their recovery and treatment Journey.


The Service User Council has a Chair and a vice chair and works independence from the core services.


We have Service user reps from the different organisation in the consortium and give feedback to the SU council from client and Professional with the aim of supporting the process of making sure clients get the best treatment and also have the responsibility to hold the core services to account for the delivery of services which positively affect the health and wellbeing of all clients who use the service.


We make sure service user have a voice.

We are also working within the 5 ways of wellbeing:


1. Connecting people;
2. Meaningful activities;
3. New learning to build self-agency;
4. Giving to others and building new social networks;
5. Mindfulness and appreciation of oneself and the world around us.


  • Willingness to engage in the in-house training
  • Willingness to support service users and workers
  • Volunteer/Peer Mentors- Are sent a Codes of Conduct, Supervision Agreement to read and sign.
  • We need one Volunteer in the core site to start supporting the staff and their workload
  • Minimum 6 months commitment when volunteering
  • Social Work student need a minimum of 90 days placement when volunteering within RCDAS
  • Have been through treatment either in the community or residential.
  • Abstinent and stable from all problematic and illicit substances, with a minimum of 6 months substance free.
  • Willingness to engage in the in-house training.
  • Willingness to support service users and workers.
  • You need at least one Peer Mentors to make sure resource are there and not out of date for service user and staff and also for services to be updated on upcoming events/groups etc.
  • Need to be engaging in treatment
  • Attending all their appointments with the service that they are designated to
  • Service User Reps –Will be identified by their Keyworker and discussed with the Community Engagement Worker.
  • Service user Rep will be part of the Service User Council


Individuals can self-refer after discussing options with their keyworker. Peer mentor s and Service User Reps can also speak to the Service User Council regarding volunteering opportunities.


In all situations, contact would have to be made with the Community Engagement Coordinator who will contact you to discuss options.

Commitment: RCDAS opens every day (9am-4.30) except the weekend.  The service is also closed till 1.30pm on a Wednesday. In order for RCDAS to function effectively we expect you to turn up. Peer Mentors/Volunteers are expected to peer mentor/volunteer at least 1 day a week. However when you work is entirely up to you. As a team we rely on Peer Mentors/ volunteers turning up for work when they say they’re going to.


Reliability: Please be on time! Unexpected events do happen, and there will be occasions when you are unable to come to work. Communication is of paramount importance! Please inform a staff member or the community Engagement coordinator at the earliest convenience if you’re running late or unable to attend.


Willingness to Learn: We all have different skills strengths and weaknesses. Our team’s depth and diversity are strengths. Not one of us knows everything! Be prepared to learn and change your viewpoint.


Know Your Limitations: We applaud enthusiasm, but recognise one’s limitations. Do not overcommit and be aware of your strengths and shortcomings. You will be working as part of a team that is dedicated to sharing its skills and knowledge. Keep your sense of humour, you’re going to need it!


Appropriate Behaviour: You will be working with a difficult and vulnerable service user group. You will have to work hard to maintain your boundaries. Be sensitive to those who need company and/or help and to those who wish to be left alone. Do not lecture, moralise or talk down to service users. You are here to support people, not to try and turn them into what you think they should be. Try to grow a thick skin and not be overly sensitive to comments made by service users or on occasion other peer mentors/volunteers. Not everyone will like you or feel comfortable with you, don’t take it personally.


Lapse & Relapse: It is important to recognise that most of us are/was in recovery from substance misuse and it is common sense to acknowledge that lapses and relapses happen. It is extremely important that you understand the Lapse & Relapse Policy and abide by it, for your own safety and that of your colleagues and service users.


Leaving RCDAS: The nature of voluntary roles means that Peer mentors/ volunteers often choose to move on. We encourage this. RCDAS is designed in part to act as a stepping stone for personal growth, support through the recovery process and a pathway toward working in the industry. However, to ensure the smooth running of RCDAS, please give us at least one months’ notice. In return we will be happy to provide you with a reference and any support we are able to offer.

All Volunteer/Peer Mentors for the Consortium must come through this Process Then have to do We Are With You Mandatory Training to ensure they have the support and knowledge to carry out their roles, Mandatory training will need to be completed this will consist of:

  • Data Protection
  • BBV
  • Mental Capacity Act
  • Immunisation & Vaccination
  • Infection Control
  • Managing Medicine
  • Naloxone
  • Health & Safety
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Substitute Prescribing


For those with lived experience, we understand the value of what they can bring to the service.


Within saying that we also understand that because they are carrying out this role, at times other emotional and practical issues may arise. We will offer them confidential support around this in the way of supervision or making a referral to a specialist service such as counselling. We are clear that we have a duty of care to them.

  • Would first need to do some supervision training (we use a PSI Supervision Template for supervision)
  • Chosen Staff will buddy a volunteer and teach them the fundamentals of working in an office and Partnership working. The aim is that this will be buddying system where the volunteers can then train up the new volunteers coming through. Information around supervising Volunteers are on the Shared drive. Martel is also available to answer any questions.

Peer Mentors will be doing a lot of work in the community, like supporting client getting to and from appointments, outreach, delivering food, working with target group that are not accessing treatment etc. we are looking for a premises where the community can access. It will be a booking system and on different days there will be a variety of activities on offer.

  • Advocacy Day- having housing, benefits, Probation or any other organisation that would fit the criteria.
  • Giving out food in conjunction with CDARS kitchen.
  • Chat and Chai –An informal chat and catch up over Chai

Widening communities is making sure that people with no direct access or pathway into drug services gets that opportunity. Part of that is setting up links and Nodes and one of the ways we are doing this is reaching out to organisations with volunteers and Peer mentors and supporting them with training and resources so they can empower, educate and support their communities and the wider community.


With a direct link into services widening communities also promotes national & community events throughout the year.


Having good relationships and being connected to other people in positive ways. Characterised by: peer support and support groups; support from others; community.

Having hope and optimism that recovery is possible and relationships that support this. Characterised by: motivation to change; positive thinking and valuing success; having dreams and aspirations.

Regaining a positive sense of self and identity and overcoming stigma.

Living a meaningful and purposeful life, as defined by the person (not others). Characterised by: meaning in mental ‘illness experience’; spirituality; meaningful life and social goals.

Having control over life, focusing on strengths, and taking personal responsibility.


The job centre sent me to WCDAS at St. John’s

to see a counsellor, I was to write in a drinks diary and we talked about anything and everything (my past) I ended up changing my drinks diary into eating diary as well because it was only then that I realised when I was looking back at how much I was drinking , I wasn’t eating anything. We spoke about rehab and detox and things started moving quite quickly I met a lady and we spoke about the detox which I was happy with and then when we was talking about Rehab, I didn’t know the difference between a mutual aid Rehab and a CBT Rehab I decided to go to a CBT rehab on the morning of leaving my house and my two children, I picked up my friends went to the off-licence got to the hospital I done my detox in Crawley hospital and had a last drink outside. I book myself in, I did not take off my jacket for the first three days but I got into the swing of things Well I mean the routine. At the end of my seven days I refuse to leave, I was scared. The person that was doing my travel warrant to get me to Purley that’s where my Rehab was allowed me to stay another three days,which I was grateful for, the day I left I was so scared I remember getting the taxi to the train station knowing that I was getting picked up at the other end but it was scary, I’ve got picked up at Purley by two lovely ladies and they showed me to my room explained the routine,same thing I wouldn’t take my coat off as long as I had my front door keys in my pocket I knew I could leave at any minute but deep in my mind,the thoughts of my children. If I didn’t do this I’d lose them,my home I already lost my family so I put my head down,done everything they told me to do that’s one thing you have to do, is listen to key workers don’t lie and do what they ask you to do, they know what they’re doing. when I left Rehab I come home and I went straight into ETE (Education training and employment)it’s run by St Mungo‘s at Cedars Road, but we call Wixs Lane and the first day I signed up to a course to do alternative therapy at city lit which is 12 weeks and throughout the rest of the week I was doing all different groups at Wixs Lane I done computer lessons, foundation for change, I done equine therapy and  a Drama workshop and therapeutic groups I also become a service user rep for St Mungo‘s ETE Where we made lots of positive changes for the future of the clients and I am now volunteering for the Service User Council. It’s been hard but so rewarding every persons journey is different but I’m so lucky and I haven’t picked up the thought of going back scares me but so does the future in a good way as I didn’t see a future for myself back then, thought I would be dead but I’m happy to say that I had my last drink on 19/11/14.


Sandra Well