CUMNOCK and Doon Valley students who have been affected by addiction could benefit from a new volunteer scheme.

The institution is now working with South Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership to help students.

A Volunteer Peer Worker project will run at the campus for people in the community who have been impacted by alcohol or drug addiction.

It will support everyone whether that’s their own personal addictions, or experienced through a family member or loved one.

People who enrol on the ADP Volunteer Peer Worker project will have an opportunity to work towards an SVQ qualification in Health and Social Care, once they complete a 26-week college course at Ayrshire College.

The course aims to build confidence in the students and teaches them basic IT skills to help prepare them for employment.

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The volunteer placement involves the students working in local health and social care services and local recovery projects.

Stephen McLean, the ADP Peer Worker who co-ordinates the project, said “Many of the people on this project will have had years of social isolation, so the project helps develop basic skills, build confidence, and eventually support them into employment.

“Many of the students will achieve great things, I’m convinced of it. Working in partnership with Ayrshire College has provided a great opportunity for participants to complete a college course. Before accessing the course, a lot of participants thought college was ‘out of reach’ for them – but we’re on our 5th intake now and it’s been a great success.”

Gavin said: “Before college I had a serious drug issue, I was in and out of prison and had no hopes or aspirations at all until I heard about this project.

"In my head I thought ‘no one’s going to employ me because of my criminal record’, but it was clearly explained to me that if you commit to the project and can show you have moved on with your life in a positive way, then it’s possible to move into work.

“This project is taking people who had chaotic lives in the past, and giving them a second chance. It’s given me a new life, and it’s also helped me give a little back.

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"Before I started this project, I had no education. I didn’t know how to use computers and didn’t have a good knowledge of health and social care. Now I’m in full-time employment. I can’t speak highly enough of the peer project.”

Romona said: “This project has benefitted me massively. I’d not worked for 10 years, and now I’m employed again with an SVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care, which in the future should open more doors for me.

“Sometimes I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. To be honest, I was really anxious about coming to college. However, through the support of everyone else in the class at the time, I was helped massively. Being in recovery, you’re going to have anxiety and stress. You’ve just got to work through it.”