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.   

What the project does

The project addresses some of the principal problem issues for young Shetlanders focusing on drugs and alcohol, harm reduction and 'legal highs', and on sexual health and wellbeing.

How the project is delivered

The project is delivered mainly through school workshops and youth clubs, by trained volunteers (aged 16-25 years) engaging with groups of young people. 

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

The project team

Una Murray Saul Day Wayne Leask Natasha Watt

Una Murray
Project Coordinator

Saul Day
Project Coordinator

Wayne Leask
Peer Education Trainer

Natasha Watt
Peer Education Trainer


The Project won the organisation category of the Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards.

The Project was presented with the Volunteer Friendly Award in April 2013.


From April 2017 to April 2018:  

  • OPEN delivered 95 awareness-raising & harm minimisation workshops

  • OPEN has delivered workshops to 1227 Shetlanders ages 12-18

  • OPEN’s peer educators have collectively volunteered 937 hours for the project, which is equivalent to an 18-hour per week part-time post 

  • Shetland students aged 12-18 increased their awareness by an average of 82% on the topics covered in OPEN’s workshops.

These statistics demonstrate that OPEN continue to attract young people of all backgrounds, with various degrees of personal issues and challenges. Some of the volunteers are evidently vulnerable and need of support with a number of issues, and derive major benefit from the social element of the project.

The project currently has 17 young people trained as peer educators, who are supported by 4 part-time staff members. Staff and volunteers had 39 meetings over the year to maintain the project’s busy schedule in planning, developing, and delivering workshops. The project’s holistic approach to engaging and supporting its volunteers ensures that all the young people are given the same opportunities, and strong, positive relationships are established among the volunteers.

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

Volunteer Experiences

“I have been volunteering with OPEN for 7 months now. I have gained experience and information that will benefit me in the future. I enjoy learning new things every week, and like the social side of the training and meetings, which is good to meet new people and make friends. I hope to continue learning more and have more involvement with the public and young people through my volunteering at OPEN.”  Johan (14)

“I have been volunteering for OPEN for about 8 months. I have really enjoyed it so far because I like learning new things, and it has also given me the chance to meet new people. I hope to continue gaining more skills, knowledge and experience, which will be good on my CV.”  John (21)

| Logo : The Scottish Government | | Logo : Leader Plus | Logo : Project part financed by the european union| Logo : Voluntary Action Shetland| Logo : Shetland Charitable Trust|