Harbour has been holding weekly mutual aid partnership (MAP) sessions for residents with great success. MAP sessions are a great way for individuals to come together with others who understand their experiences, and proactively work through or manage their substance use to elicit positive change.
MAP can help empower individuals by giving them the tools and strategies that they need to overcome or manage their issues in a professionally led, safe and trusting space.
Harbour’s MAP sessions are run by Billy Horton, a trustee of the charity and a Service User Engagement Coordinator at We Are With You (WAWY). Billy has been holding MAP sessions at Harbour since 2012, witnessing how the group can have a profound change on an individual.
Billy is hugely popular with our residents, acting as a non-judgemental mentor and skill-builder. As Harbour is a charity focussed on the rehabilitation from homelessness, not addiction, we rely on our good relationship with WAWY, and we are very lucky to have Billy’s skills and experience available to us.
Billy has been running three MAP groups every Thursday, with each at maximum capacity. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only 5 people have been able to participate at once, meaning a waiting list has been created for those enthusiastic to join.
Claire Tregunna, our Volunteer Coordinator, said:
“It is great to see residents learning the skills to help themselves overcome their issues.
“Since it has been restarted, I have noticed a growth in residents wanting to volunteer and the farm has benefitted from the amount of new skills being brought along.
“Whilst carrying out tasks they chat and continue to help each other move forward.”
Our residents who have been attending MAP commented:
“It’s all about recovery and how we can change things for ourselves. We set goals for ourselves and discuss how we can achieve them”
“We learn about tools to help ourselves, our peers, and we also get to help other people”
“It’s useful in helping us work through our own problems.”
Academic research conducted into the effectiveness of peer-support communities like MAP has shown them to be highly effective in recovery from substance use and homelessness. In one study, Boisvert et al. write:
“Significant reduction of risk of relapse was found in clients who participated in the programme.“Evidence suggests that a peer‐supported community programme focused on self‐determination can have a significant positive impact on recovery from substance addictions and homelessness.”
This evidence-based approach has been proven to be highly effective, and we are so pleased that MAP is available at Harbour. It’s wonderful to see the positive impact that the groups are having on our clients, as they allow them to thrive and reach their goals.