Introduction

In response to the negative impact of COVID-19 on young people’s health and wellbeing, Merton Council commissioned Participation People to establish the Merton Peer Educator Project. The project aimed to address the gap in age-appropriate health messaging and advocacy by creating a network of 16-30 year-olds dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing services among their peers.

Solution

In order to ensure a diverse and representative group of Peer Educators, Participation People implemented a targeted recruitment strategy, collaborating with local services and organisations that catered to young people with protected characteristics. By leveraging existing connections and utilising various recruitment channels, a dynamic and inclusive group of Peer Educators was formed, representing a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. 

The Merton Peer Educators met regularly to collaborate on their campaigns, focusing on the overarching theme of “Busting Fake Health News.” They developed an interactive quiz to debunk false health information and encourage critical thinking among young people. Additionally, they created a comprehensive resource called “Merton Peer Educator Top Tips,” sharing their personal strategies for maintaining health and wellbeing. The resource included contact information for organisations offering support services in Merton. To ensure accessibility, the Peer Educators created an easy-to-read document and a video presentation.

Results

The culmination of their efforts was the Merton Health and Wellbeing Fayre, a lively event designed to raise awareness about available health services and provide a fun experience for young people in the borough. The Peer Educators took charge of organising and delivering the Fayre, which featured free food, a raffle, and engaging games. The event placed young people at its centre, empowering them to take an active role in promoting health and wellbeing within their community.

Throughout the project, the Peer Educators not only produced valuable resources but also acquired essential skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and project planning. The collaboration between Participation People and the Merton Peer Educators successfully increased awareness among young people about the available health and wellbeing services in Merton while fostering their ability to support their own holistic health.

Testimonial

“We are grateful for the collaboration with Participation People on the Merton Peer Educators Project. The Peer Educators’ contributions have been valuable in creating impactful campaigns and resources for young people in Merton. The project has empowered the Peer Educators and supported the efforts of the Merton Public Health Team.”

  • Julia Groom, Consultant in Public Health, London Borough of Merton