Polly Nabarro our mentoring co-ordinator talks about presenting at her first international conference aimed at medical professionals in Maastricht early Sept 2014.
“As both a mentoring co-ordinator and a sibling of someone with a spinal cord injury (SCI) myself I was invited to deliver a presentation about our family mentoring service. I presented an overview of our peer mentoring service and how we improve family members’ quality of life. Alongside me were two other presenters from the Netherlands and Germany talking about peer support for people with SCI too.
The workshop was scheduled for the last day and the last slot, but despite the late session lots of people turned up to hear us. The audience and my fellow panel members really enjoyed hearing about the initial development of our mentoring service and the expansion into family support, along with the research that was reviewed and undertaken to examine family members’ needs and the coping mechanisms we use to both talk with a mentee about their wellbeing and examine the impact mentoring has had on that person following their mentoring relationship.
Although the family mentoring service has only been running since 2011, the impact the service has had on mentees has been huge and the service is a simple concept but really effective. People were extremely enthusiastic about replicating the service elsewhere.
After my presentation the audience had lots of questions and wanted me to expand on all sorts of aspects of the service including our funding. They also couldn’t believe that our four clinical psychologists volunteer their time freely to train and supervise our mentors at training weekends, development days and throughout a mentoring relationship.
It was great to get such positive feedback at an international event. Following the conference we hope to make it to the Manfred Sauer Foundation to share our learning’s.”