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Celebrating (over) five years of our Peer Navigator project

Celebrating (over) five years of our Peer Navigator project

There were laughs and smiles all round last Thursday, 29 February, as we held a special event to celebrate (over) five years since the launch of our Peer Navigator project in 2018.

Here are some photos from the event and various Peer Navigator projects over the years, along with an overview of what makes our past and present Peer Navigators worth celebrating:

Working in partnership with BoltonCVS ( and various funding partners, our Peer Navigator project has given over 35 people the opportunity to become trusted beacons of support for their communities.

Since it launched, our Peer Navigators have played critical roles in supporting the response to Covid, delivered arts and crafts activities, supported public health projects – like the ‘Quit and Get Fit’ stop smoking campaign, spent time volunteering in Europe (through our Foundation for the Future programme), organised and supported countless family fun days, helped to improve the local environment, and two of them even got to meet King Charles (see pictures); but this only scratches the surface.

Think of them as community connectors – or the ‘eyes and ears’ in the neighbourhoods we serve. Working in the role, they build invaluable two-way relationships with local residents where:

  • they’re trusted to provide invaluable support and signposting on a range of challenges faced by residents,
  • they give customers a space to voice their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on things most important to them.

Our Peer Navigators live where they work, meaning they’re trusted by their neighbours and are able to build stronger relationships than other colleagues and agencies. And they’re especially great at engaging with those groups of people who’d otherwise be difficult to reach.

Working as part of our Community Engagement Team, our Peer Navigators are supported through each and every step of their journey; be it through a wealth of training opportunities, chances to develop and take ownership of their own projects, and being given plenty of space to plan for next steps as before their role ends.

To date, 85% of our former Peer Navigators have gone straight into employment after their time with us – and many choose to continue their roles as ‘community connectors’ to this day.

Speaking about the five-year Peer Navigator celebration event last Thursday, Mark Wilkinson, our Non-Executive Director, said:

"I'm so pleased I was able to attend. There were some fantastic stories of personal growth. It was so encouraging to hear about this scheme, and I hope it can continue to go from strength to strength."

We’ll leave you with these quotes from some of our former Peer Navigators:

  • "I've been enabled, empowered, taught my true worth, and the value that I can bring by just taking one step. Thank you for believing in us." ..said Sara Fearns, our former Johnson Fold Peer Navigator.
  • "I put my all in to my role, and I had an absolute blast! If I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat!" ..said Stevie Howarth, our former Farnworth Peer Navigator.
  • "It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'd encourage anyone to come and do it - you will be nurtured, and you will find where you belong." ..said Dawn Exley, our former Breightmet Peer Navigator.

Peer Navigators Royal visit at the Town Hall Peer Navigators at the library Peer Navigators at the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence exhibition Peer Navigators Community Development Officer Naz with Peer Navigator Shelley Peer Navigators Peer Navigators in Slovenia Peer Navigators Peer Navigators Peer Navigators in Westhoughton Peer Navigators shake hands with King Charles Peer Navigators at the February 2024 celebration event Peer Navigators in Slovenia Peer Navigators group photo Attendees at the Peer Navigators celebration event in February 2024 Peer Navigators group photo Peer Navigator Shelley and her husband Keith Peer Navigators