BAB Voices: BDP's Champions
Group Work and Peer Support Pilot Project


“When I came out of detox, a peer support worker took me out for coffee, and that changed and saved my life, it took me out of my depression”, says one of Bristol Drugs Project’s Champions sharing his experience being supported by a peer during his recovery, now this group of older people are returning a hand helping others overcoming similar issues

The Champions are a group of older people that attend BDP’s ’50 Plus Crowd’ group regularly who have been trained to support peers in their journey to recovery. These volunteers have undergone 6 weeks of training that have given them the confidence and tools to make home visits to people facing similar issues who are in earlier stages of recovery. BDP’s Champions is one of 17 projects funded by Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) as part of their Group Work and Peer Support stream of funding.

One key element of BDP’s Champions is that older people with alcohol and/or drug misuse problems are visited by people of a similar age. Andy Bowles, BDP’s Older People’s Service Worker, highlights the need for peer support when addressing this issue among Bristol’s older population: “If you are visited by someone of a similar age who has had a similar experience, you’ll feel less judged, more comfortable and more able to accept help hopefully.”

Following seven pilot contracts awarded in September 2015, Bristol Ageing Better commissioned another 10 group work and peer support projects to further support isolated older people in the city. These projects include gardening group activities for people living with dementia and their carers provided by Growing Support CIC, ‘Living together with Dementia’ counselling for couples provided by The Harbour, Bristol & Avon Chinese Women’s Group multicultural cooking classes, and Wellbeing Champions training for older people provided by Happy City.  

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