Voluntary Action Shetland   Voluntary Action Shetland
Voluntary Action Shetland

OPEN :- Our Peer Education Network

Peer Education

Describes a range of initiatives where people of similar ages, backgrounds, culture and/or social status educate each other about a variety of issues.   

Support for young people information leaflet: Support for Young People

What does OPEN do?

Peer Education in Schools: OPEN recruits and trains young people aged 16-25 to become 'peer educators'. OPEN's main purpose is to embed peer education across Shetland as a methodology of raising awareness and encouraging positive lifestyle choices - especially on issues concerning substance misuse, relationships, sexual health, and mental health; whilst promoting harm reduction at every opportunity. OPEN deliver peer education workshops to all S1-S4 students in Shetland.

Peer Mentoring: OPEN are now also operating a Peer Mentoring Programme; with the aim to recruit and match mentors and mentees, to facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring sessions for young people who are care experienced and/or in the youth justice system as well as any disadvantaged young people at risk of social isolation or exclusion. OPEN aims to recruit 4-6 care-experienced/criminal justice experienced young people per year, as well as recruiting and training 4-6 peer mentors per year, whom the mentees will be carefully matched with. The aim of this programme is to improve outcomes for participants, and to prevent offending behaviour.

Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience Project (EW&R) Shetland Islands Council: There are six EW&R Workers aged 16-25 employed by Voluntary Action Shetland and supported by the OPEN Project to work on the EW&R Project.  OPEN provide support and training to increase the EW&R Workers’ skills, confidence and knowledge, and improve participation and engagement approaches in the EW&R Project.  The EW&R Workers carry out research and consultation with young people in the community and represent the findings at strategic and other levels through the EW&R Project and improvement teams. 

OPEN Up:  OPEN runs a weekly drop-in youth café, aiming to attract Shetland’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people. OPEN Up has shown that having a consistent, safe, and welcoming place to meet has been hugely successful in engaging young people who are care-experienced, involved with Criminal Justice, and/or excluded from school, youth clubs, community centres, and sports facilities. Another aim of the project is to increase the intake of new volunteers to the OPEN Project, as well as other volunteering opportunities.

How the project is delivered

OPEN’s Peer Education is delivered mainly through school workshops; by trained volunteers (aged 16-25 years) engaging with groups of young people. OPEN have an ongoing ‘Schools Delivery Programme’ in place with all high schools and junior high schools in Shetland, which sees every workshop assigned to a specific year group; matching the issues most relevant the participants’ age. 

OPEN’s Peer Mentoring takes place at Market House, Lerwick, which allows OPEN’s volunteers, who are trained mentors, to provide peer-to-peer mentoring support for care-experienced and/or young people engaging with Criminal Justice, in partnership with SIC Children and Families Social Work, Criminal Justice Social Work, and Shetland’s Who Cares? Scotland advocate.

OPEN will work with The Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience Project Steering Group, so that young people and adults can contribute towards the development of the project, with young people being recognised at a strategic level; in developing services to meet their needs.

OPEN UP is a weekly drop-in youth café at the Olive Tree, which aims to attract Shetland’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people. The OPEN Up nights that have taken place across 2019/20 have proven that having a consistent, safe, and welcoming place to meet up during the week has been very successful in attracting and engaging young people who are care-experienced, involved with Criminal Justice, and/or excluded from school, youth clubs, community centres, and venues/facilities such as Mareel and Clickimin.

OPEN Workshops include:

OPEN about Sexual Health
OPEN about Sexual Health Clinic
OPEN about Drugs
OPEN about Alcohol
OPEN Online
Mentally OPEN
OPEN about Positive Relationships

OPEN in Numbers:

Of the 1,278 participants from 80 workshops in 2019-20, their awareness of the issues raised increased by an average of 81%. Since 2013, the project has delivered 466 workshops to over 6,000 young people. This has had an invaluable impact on young people’s abilities to make informed decisions around their health and wellbeing in Shetland.

How You Can Get Involved

OPEN meetings are every Tuesday evening at Market House, during school term times, between 6pm and 8.30pm, to provide support and training to the existing volunteers, as well planning and developing workshops.

If you’re aged between 16-25, and interested in volunteering, then please pop along some night or get in touch for more info about our range of opportunities:

Phone: 01595 745074. Facebook: OPEN Peer Education Project 

The project team

Una Murray Saul Day Wayne Leask  

Una Murray
Project Coordinator
Una.Murray@shetland.org

Saul Day
Project Coordinator
saul.day1@shetland.org

Wayne Leask
Peer Education Trainer
wayne.leask@shetland.org

 

 Jessica Carlyle

 Patricia Doyle

Bethany Leask  Mariel Leask
Jessica Carlyle
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
jessica.carlyle2@shetland.org
Patricia Doyle
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
patricia.doyle@shetland.org
Bethany Leask
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
bethany.leask2@shetland.org
Mariel Leask
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
mariel.leask@shetland.org
 
 Aylesha Meades


Julia Roberts 

 
  Aylesha Meades
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
aylesha.meades@shetland.org
Julia Roberts
OPEN Emotional Wellbeing
 and Resilience Worker
01595 745074
julia.roberts@shetland.org 
 

OPEN in Numbers:

July 2018 – Jan 2019

  • Number of volunteers who are delivering/shadowing workshops: 11 
  • OPEN peer educators and young people involved in the Project have completed 364 hours towards their Saltire Awards in the last six months through workshops, training, OPEN meetings and OPEN Up nights and planning meetings.
  • Workshop participants’ understanding and knowledge of the topics discussed increased on average by 82%.
  • 721 young people have participated in workshops over the past 6 months, which saw the project deliver 50 workshops during this period. 

How You Can Get Involved

OPEN meetings are every Tuesday evening at Market House, during school term times, between 6pm and 8.30pm, to provide support to the existing volunteers.

If you’re aged between 16 and 25, and interested in volunteering, then please pop along some night or get in touch for more info:

Phone: 01595 745074. Facebook: OPEN Peer Education Project 

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