Project design and activites


We held a half day scoping workshop on the 12th August 2015 to kick off phase two. A clear message from phase 1 was the importance of peer approaches and the role of lived experience. The scoping workshop helped identify and sense-check key project questions by drawing on the expertise and experience of workshop participants. It also provided an opportunity to explore ways to work in partnership.

We were joined by participants from Scottish Social Services Council, Positive Prison? Positive Futures, Scottish Recovery Consortium, East Lothian Council, The Salvation Army, Glasgow Homelessness Network, Loretto Care, Scottish Government, North Ayrshire Council, Hunter Street Homeless Service and NHS Fife.

Flickr: David Cantu (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It was a lively discussion which generated a lot of good ideas and and inspiration for the next bit of the project. Participants were really open to working together, and shared an enthusiasm for  joining the dots and addressing the gaps in homelessness prevention. Everyone was very generous with their knowledge and some shared their personal experiences of homelessness, for which we were really appreciative.

Lived experience

For this project we wanted to work with someone who had lived experience of the topic we were exploring. Iriss values lived experience as a type of evidence, alongside research evidence and practice experience. We wanted someone with lived experience to be a colleague and researcher on the project, rather than a research subject.


We held an information session with a group from Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN). Following the session, Alan, a peer support worker for GHNโ€™s Navigate service contacted us and we arranged a further discussion / informal interview. Alan was also part of a research project with the University of Strathclyde on homelessness and human rights and had received introductory training on research methods. This was a great help as we were conscious of the limited time and resources we had in the project that wouldnโ€™t stretch to providing substantial research training. During the informal interview we were able to discuss ways of paying Alan for his time in a way that did not interfere with his benefits and where he would prefer to work, whether at the Iriss office or elsewhere. We agreed Alan would work a day or two a week in the office and we provided him with a desk, computer, Iriss email address and security fob.

Read Alan’s reflections on being part of the project.


Alan joined the team in November 2015 and over the following four months project activities included:

  • desk research on organisations using peer approaches in Scotland and in the wider UK
  • co-designing research questions we would explore using focus groups and interviews
  • co-facilitated two focus groups (one in an urban setting, one in a rural setting) with people with lived experience in peer roles, people working in organisations either using peer approaches or with an interest in implementing peer approaches
  • conducting interviews with people with lived experience in peer support roles
  • analysing the qualitative data from the focus groups and interviews
  • presentation at an event about the project