DDN Conference 2023 on the day

Thank you to everyone who made the DDN Conference such a special day!

Pictures, feedback, presentations, and coverage coming soon!









The Conference Programme


‘Many Roads’

9.00–10.00am registration and refreshments, Foyer

10.00–11.30am Session one, Conference Hall
Welcome to the DDN Conference! Claire Brown, DDN editor


The Anti Stigma Network, introduced by Karen Biggs, CEO of Phoenix Futures
This growing and diverse network aims to understand and challenge the stigma directed towards people who use drugs and alcohol, people experiencing addiction, and their families. We invite you to get involved in the network, bringing your experience to help us confront and challenge this discrimination.

Women and stigma, with April Wareham of Working with Everyone and Hannah Shead, CEO of Trevi. Looking at the specific challenges faced by women who use drugs and the need for more specialist support.

The stigma inside
Callie Davidson of the Safe Ground project talks about how they are working with serving prisoners to challenge this stigma and thrive. 

11.20–11.40pm Tea, coffee and refreshments
Exhibition Hall

11.40–1.00pm Session two, Conference Hall


Peer power – a story of co-production
Cranstoun’s team share their dynamic harm reduction initiatives. Alistair Bryant describes the PACKs peer team’s naloxone distribution and Luke O’Neil explains how they used innovative tech to create BuddyUp.

From policy to practice
Laura Pechey from the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), Lanre Babalola, and Ade Babalola of BUBIC discuss their shared determination to embed lived experience in the treatment system.

Community outreach
Marcus Johnson, Christiane Jenkins, Sanjeev Kumar and Karolina Sowinska from SUIT share innovative ways they’re engaging with the wider community, including challenging specific issues around stigma faced by people in Asian and East European communities.

1.00–2.00pm Delicious LUNCH, networking, and a chance to enjoy everything going on in the Exhibition Hall


2.15–3.45pm Session three (with tea/coffee available), Conference Hall


Make sure you are part of this vital interactive session – your chance to contribute to the debate, let people know what’s working, what needs to be done and your ideas for how it should happen. 

Come and share your innovative work, thoughts and ideas with your peers!

We’ll be looking at a series of topics in turn:

Experiences of treatment
How do you challenge ‘one size fits all’ treatment?
What do you do if you’re not happy with the treatment you’re offered?

Peers save lives!
What are you doing in your area?
Which peer-led initiatives are really working?

Let’s talk about stigma
Has stigma ever stopped you from moving forward?
How have you tackled these barriers?
How can we all help to shape, inform and influence work to tackle stigma?

Me, myself, I… where do we go from here?
How can we organise, mobilise and influence – beyond today’s event?

You’ll have chance to speak out if you want to, discuss the topics in roundtable groups, and write down thoughts, suggestions and feedback. This promises to be a lively, collaborative and enjoyable session, which will be central to our write-up in DDN and vital to taking your key issues forward. All welcome – come and join in!

3.45pm – Closing remarks

Conference close – and you are warmly invited to enjoy free entry to the National Motorcycle Museum

We would like to thank all the amazing peers and volunteers who have fed into the programme consultation and are helping to stage and run the conference. We couldn’t do it without you.

Karen Biggs has been chief executive of Phoenix Futures since 2007. Her earlier career was in supported housing and homelessness. She believes in the charity sector and its role in supporting people that the state can’t or won’t help, and is equally passionate about ‘making lovely environments for people to do difficult stuff in’.

April Wareham is director at Working with Everyone, a collective of unique individuals who bring both lived experience and professional expertise. They are driven by the knowledge that the voices and experiences of marginalised and vulnerable people are crucial in improving outcomes. 

Hannah Shead is chief executive of Trevi, a nationally award-winning women’s and children’s charity based in South West England. Trevi provides safe and nurturing spaces for women in recovery to heal, grow and thrive.

Callie Davidson is programmes coordinator at Safe Ground, an award-winning national arts organisation delivering high quality, well-evidenced group work interventions to people in prison and community settings.

Alistair Bryant is media and harm reduction content creator at Cranstoun. He works with the Worcester peer harm reduction team, PACKS (peer-assisted community knowledge & support).

Luke O’Neil has over 15 years’ experience working in the third sector for charities that address and challenge health and social inequalities. He joined Cranstoun in 2017 and as assistant director for business development, he leads on income generation and innovation across Cranstoun services – including the development of new approaches informed by global practice. 

Laura Pechey is programme manager for alcohol and drug treatment and recovery at OHID, the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. Working in alcohol, drug and recovery service development, delivery and policy for over 15 years, she is passionate about changing the nation’s attitudes to and support for people who use alcohol and drugs. She currently works to improve best practice in drug and alcohol prevention, treatment and recovery through influencing and informing national policy. 

Lanre Babalola is chief executive of BUBIC – Bringing Unity Back Into the Community. He decided while he was in prison to seek help to change the course of his life after 12 years of drug use and began working with drug support services. He teamed up with a group of peers he met in one of the services to set up the award-winning charity BUBIC.

Marcus Johnson is a Project Worker at SUIT – the Service User Involvement Team in Wolverhampton. He is a Level 5 Qualified Integrative Therapist and studying to be a counsellor. 

Karolina Sowinska is a volunteer at SUIT.

Christiane Jenkins is researching a PhD which will identify underdeveloped and disinvested individual and social factors surrounding problem drug and alcohol use. She has lived experience and believes that engaging community groups as co-producers of knowledge, enhances learning, creates impact, and benefits the wider community. She is currently working alongside the Service User Involvement Team (SUIT), Wolverhampton, to develop co-produced mutual aid and peer-led support.

The DDN Magazine and the DDN Conference are all about getting involved, making a noise and sharing your story. By working together we can make real change!

There are lots of ways to get involved on the day and in the magazine.

The Big Conversation (Afternoon session 2.00pm – 3.30pm)

Make sure you are part of this essential interactive session – your chance to contribute to the debate, let people know what’s working, what needs to be done and your ideas for how it should happen. We’ll be wanting your thoughts and ideas around peer-led working and outreach, prescribing options, tackling stigma, and effective peer networking. A lively, collaborative and enjoyable session that will be central to our write-up in DDN and vital to taking your key issues forward.

Naloxone training

Have you got your kit, if not why not! Thank you to Turning Point who are providing free training and naloxone to take away. Please visit their stand in the exhibition area.


There are many organisations wanting to canvass your views and learn fro your experience including Anna Millington, April Wareham and Goldsmiths University. Please visit their stands at the back of the main hall to take part. You can even enter a draw to win free stuff!

Share it on social

Spread the word on twitter, insta, facebook, teams and even give it a go on threads! Please use #ddnconf and we can find all the messages and share them and use your contributions for the special issue.

Picture this

We need your help creating the DDN Special issue covering the event and sharing the content on our website. If you take any pictures or video you would like us to use please either share them on social media with #ddnconf or email them to conferences@cjwellings.com 

Have your say

If it is about something discussed at the conference or just a burning issue that you want to get off your chest, DDN is your magazine. Please use it! Please email your letters and comment to our editor claire@cjwellings.com

Sponsors and Supporters:

We are really grateful to the main sponsors of this year’s conference, without them it would not be possible to hold this annual event.

We would also like to thank all of the organisations in the exhibition area. We will be sharing more information about them online and in the special issue but please make sure you visit all of the stands today.

DDN is a free magazine and we would like to thank all of our ongoing advertisers, sponsors and partners, without their support we would not be able to provide a free to read publication.

Venue Information

Thank you to the National Motorcycle museum for hosting this year’s conference.

Museum visits: You can access the museum after the conference free of charge, please just say you have been attending the DDN event.

Wifi: Select the visitor wifi for free access with no login or password required.

RefreshmentsTea, coffee and refreshments will be served throughout the day including a full cooked lunch. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available but please ask the venue staff if you have any specific requests.

Facilities: There is a lift and full disabled access throughout and a free cloakroom is available to leave bags and coats. If you require taxi’s for the station or any other assistance please ask at reception by the main entrance.


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