LDATs may choose to link with existing alcohol and other drug peer support activities that have been shown to work.
You may find other activities through peak bodies for youth, local health services or by drawing on local knowledge and networks. There may be a number of existing peer support activities in place in your community (e.g. buddy program in the local secondary school) that you can support and build on.
A number of existing peer support activities in Australia are listed below:
Once you have found existing peer support activities, it may be useful to seek out further information directly from the organisation to find out if a partnership or delivery pathway is possible in your community.
Be mindful that there are numerous examples of peer support activities that focus on alcohol and other drug treatment and recovery, which is outside the scope of the LDAT Program and its focus on preventing alcohol and drug issues before they occur.
You might want to consider the following questions (some answers may be available online, others you may have to seek directly from the organisation):
Due to the limited number of existing peer support activities available and the need for tailored approaches, many LDATs will work with partners to develop and deliver a targeted peer support activity in their community. See Resources required section below and Delivering peer support activities: Key Steps for insight into what is required when developing new approaches.
Peer support activities can help to shape young people’s behaviours, knowledge and attitudes to alcohol and other drugs and whether and how they use them, but the way peer support is used makes a big difference.
Alcohol and other drug peer support activities are most effective when approaches are based on principles of effective practice:
Alcohol and other drug peer support activities have been shown to be ineffective and increase interest in drug use when it is based on:
Setting objectives for your activity is an important part of the LDAT planning process.
Some example objectives for peer support activities are provided below. Groups can develop their own objectives, although you may find these a useful starting point:
Whether you are linking in to an existing peer support activity or developing your own activity, strong partnerships will be critical to your success. Partners can support the peer support program in many ways, including promoting the activity, recruiting young people as participants and peer leaders, working with schools to facilitate activities, providing a venue for training, financial support, and much more.
How the peer support activity is structured and delivered may influence the type of individuals, networks and organisations that your group partners with.
Partners may include:
See also Working with community partners.
All peer support activities need to be adequately resourced. Below is an indicative list of resources required to deliver peer support activities. LDATs may be able to provide some of these resources or work with partners who can provide additional support.
While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures of success for your activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your program linking your evaluation measures to your objectives (see Measure your success).