Providence Row Housing Association’s Buddy Network is made up of volunteers from their supported housing schemes. They welcome and support new residents who may arrive traumatised from their experience of homelessness or mental ill health. The Buddies help new arrivals to settle in, get to know their local area, access activities and get involved in how PRHA is run.
Resident feedback is that the Buddies are friendly and a great source of information and reassurance. This encourages them to also get involved in our resident based activities such as building maintenance inspections and local meetings.
Buddies are now also trained as PRHA Safeguarding Champions. This gives them the skills and confidence to talk to fellow residents about how to protect themselves from financial, physical and other forms of abuse.
The Buddies find their roles rewarding and say it helps them to build their confidence as they recover from their own period of homelessness. They also complete an AQA certified training course and receive regular support from PRHA’s Peer Mentor Coordinator. The Buddies have used their experience as a bridge to more volunteering and training both within PRHA and in the community.
As an organisation PRHA has found that there has been increased involvement by residents at more levels within PRHA and they are proud that the Safeguarding Champions help tackle and prevent abuse straightaway.
“Buddying for me is an opportunity to support other people. Being a buddy keeps my mind occupied through my illness and has helped to build up my confidence. My achievements were recognised by winning an Inspirational Resident award this year which I was honoured to receive.”