We connect communities with environmental Peer Mentors who share knowledge, skills and experience with local projects and initiatives. They inspire, support and enable action for climate change at community level. When peer mentoring is complete, projects can move on at their own pace alongside everyday activities. The coordinator keeps in touch, and we invite groups to events such as training, skill sharing, conferences and workshops.
A second round of mentoring is available to those who need it, and sometimes members of groups we have supported become mentors themselves, which is a wonderful legacy.
We have around 25 peer mentors. They are hosted by a third sector organisation within our network, as we all share mutual goals for a more sustainable Wales. Peer mentors are matched to community groups, and will help each group take the first steps in their action plan.
The programme is based on the following principles:
• Community groups will engage with and learn best from those who have travelled the same road – hence our peer-to-peer support.
• The programme is distributed, building on shared experience and knowledge.
• It is community led and empowering ,supporting the needs and aspirations of communities to make lasting change.
• The programme is inherently cost-effective and supports the third sector because peer mentors' and coordinators' organisations are paid for the work they do.
What makes Renew Wales stand out is our ability to reach people and places who aren't already interested or active in environmental issues. We build networks of mutual support between communities and third sector organisations across Wales, raising awareness and sharing knowledge to tackle environmental issues in a more personal way. We are also able to influence decision makers to take more and better action on climate.
Our thriving support network across Wales has produced some amazing projects contributing to climate change, from recycling and upcycling to community energy and biodiversity. By tailoring the peer-to-peer support with the knowledge and skills that best fit a project, we are able to bring out the best in communities for the environment and people across Wales.
What have you learnt that others will find most useful?
- Community groups engage best with people who have travelled the same road, hence our focus on peer-to-peer support.
- Sharing skills and knowledge is a powerful way to inspire and support change, and is far-reaching. In our case we reach across the whole of Wales.
- We are completely cost-effective because peer mentors and coordinators are funded by their own organisations, as we all have shared goals.
Measures of success?
Read more: http://www.renewwales.org.uk