Local news from the substance misuse field

Yes you can!

bobBuild on Belief (BoB) recently held their eighth annual award ceremony and celebrated their ten-year anniversary through an evening of entertainment and celebration at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall.

One of BoB’s volunteers, Kelly, explained how helping other service users got her back on track: ‘I had a rocky few years. Volunteering really helped and supported me – being able to be myself and share my experience.’

Among the award winners, collecting the Kevin Plunkett-Gibney Memorial Award, Linda Chan said: ‘I had 32 years of drug use. Getting off them wasn’t a problem – staying off them was. Tim [Sampey] explained how I could use my skills in that world and put them to good use. Coming off drugs is one thing – building a life is another. BoB gave me that.’


Amelia runs marathon for her RAPt journey

Amelia Barber will be among the runners in the London marathon this year, fundraising for the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt). Now working as a nurse on an oncology ward at Guy’s Hospital, she is running to ‘give back’ to the charity that helped her to change her life.

‘I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for several years and it caused me to lose my home, my family, my job, my values, my health and my self-respect,’ she said. ‘At my worst I was homeless, drinking and using drugs every day to block out the pain of living.’

Joining RAPt’s Island Day Programme in Tower Hamlets brought her in contact with counselling, structure and support. ‘I will always be grateful to RAPt for helping me when I couldn’t help myself,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted to do the marathon for anyone else – I know that money will make a real difference to RAPt, and most importantly to the people whose lives it helps to change.’


Nottinghamshire service users show their spirit

Life-changing contributions to recovery across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire were recognised at Double Impact’s Spirit of Recovery Awards.

Double Impact Spirit Academy

Celebrations were held at the charity’s flagship social enterprise Café Sobar, with an opening address from Professor David Best, professor of criminology, development and society at Sheffield Hallam University. Service users from the Recovery in Nottingham’s creative writing group then gave readings of their own poetry, introduced by Miggy James, winner of the Exceptional Recovery Worker award.

Sixteen award categories attracted entries from individuals and organisations across the county, with votes made by service users, staff, peer mentors and volunteers.

‘I can’t believe that within a year of finishing the mentoring diploma I am now in fulltime employment with New Directions Nottinghamshire,’ said winner of the Extraordinary Achievement Award, Sandra Platten. ‘I am so grateful to everyone at Double Impact Academy.’

The award ceremony was followed by music from Rob Green and Gallery 47 – part of Café Sobar’s monthly music event to showcase talent from Nottingham’s live music scene.


New booklet helps young people with psychosis

A booklet has been produced by Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to help young people who are experiencing psychosis for the first time, helping them look after their physical health and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Right from the start: keeping your body in mind includes useful questions for young people to ask their healthcare professional so they can get help with stopping smoking, reducing their alcohol consumption and making positive adjustments to diet and lifestyle. The need for routine checks such as blood pressure, weight and cholesterol are also covered, to help with detecting symptoms of physical conditions earlier.

‘It has been my mission over the last eight years to tackle the premature mortality of people with psychosis,’ said Dr David Shiers, honorary research consultant for the Psychosis Research Unit at GMW. ‘There needs to be a more holistic awareness of the condition and its potential impact on physical health and quality of life.’ www.gmw.nhs.uk


musical challengeMusical challenge

A series of music workshops have been supporting women to make changes to help them out of drug addiction, prostitution, physical abuse and homelessness.

Award-winning charity Create teamed up with the U-Turn Women’s Project and international law firm Reed Smith LLP to deliver the creative: u-turn programme, led by Create’s professional musician, John Webb.

Women from East London’s U-Turn Project were involved in experimenting with instrumentation to create films that echoed their personal experiences.

‘It offers a chance to explore creativity, an effective and cathartic way to channel emotions and feelings that can be difficult to verbalise,’ said Create’s chief executive, Nicky Goulder. ‘The project also endeavours to nurture new relationships, creating support networks for those who have shared similar challenges in life.’


beau the dogBeau takes the lead at Kenward

Beau the labradoodle has joined the team at Kenward Trust. Since arriving at 13 weeks old, he has shown himself to be a calming influence, building trust, while being walked, groomed, taught and spoiled by residents.

‘We hope that he will encourage exercise and responsibility but we really feel he will come into his own when a resident is struggling and can’t open up to staff or even peers,’ said project manager Nicola Boniface. ‘He will be the third medium and through stroking him and trusting him, staff and residents may be able to make psychological contact during those really vulnerable times and work on the issues the individuals are struggling with.’