Training Opportunities for Peer Supporters with Intellectual Disabilities in Europe
Many adults with intellectual disabilities in Europe cannot participate as active citizens in their societies. Since most have only limited access to formal or informal adult education and training, one of the main challenges lies in providing them with the appropriate training needed to take their own decisions, to take control over their lives and to perform their role as active citizens.
The objective of the TOPSIDE project was thus to develop a new component in informal adult education for this group of citizens: peer support and peer training, i.e. to develop the capacity of adults with intellectual disabilities to provide support and training to their peers.
On the basis of an inventory of the necessary skills, the TOPSIDE project thus developed and tested a Training Curriculum for adult peer supporters and trainers. The TOPSIDE Curriculum was complemented by Methodological Guidelines for adult education trainers. To test, improve and validate these Deliverables, adult education courses for future Peer Supporters and Trainers were organized in the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, and Spain. A European version of the Deliverables was also created for the transfer to other EU countries.
The TOPSIDE Consortium seeked recognition of the Deliverables by the leading organisations of and for people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. It presented them at local, national and European level to promote the qualification as Peer Supporter and Trainer as new educational and eventually even employment opportunity for the target group. The TOPSIDE Peer Supporters indeed used their skills in different settings: in self-advocacy organisations, in counselling services, or in organisations of guardians/supporters. Ultimately this project contributed to reinforcing the capacity of people with intellectual disabilities to live and work as active citizens in society.
Funder: European Commission DG Education and Culture – LifeLong Learning Programme
Total Project Budget: 250 485 €
EU Grant (75%): 187 863 €
Partners own contribution: 62 622€
Project Duration: from 01/11/2011 to 31/10/2013 for 24 months