Many roads to an amazing day! The DDN Conference 2023 We’ve consulted, we’ve listened, we’ve debated. So here’s how we’re taking on board your ideas for this year’s DDN Conference. The theme of this year’s event, Many Roads, has fired the imagination – ‘Because there is never one way, there is never just one straight route. We are never just waking this alone.’ You talked about the key issues facing members of the community, and the barriers to treatment. We discussed the overriding stigma that affects everything – housing, employment, every aspect of daily life – and you said that if we can’t (all of us together) address and integrate these needs, then the treatment system is a waste of time. We looked at the rising cost of living, and how it’s stopping people from even getting to services. And we wanted to do more (in Gabor Maté’s words) to meet people where they’re at, embracing diversity and being more responsive to those under served – or even ignored – by the current system. We recognised that a support network of family and friends is just as important as working in partnership with our healthcare providers, services and commissioners, and we wanted to support families in their own right, including them in the conversation. We agreed that it’s good to talk about stigma… but not good enough just to talk: ‘We need action, social disobedience, accountability – we’ve had enough and want to take responsibility for this. Let’s campaign and make noise.’ ‘When are governments going to start listening? I’m doing this because I’ve lost too many people.’ ‘I want to see people being able to make a difference – peer power.’ ‘We need to convert passion to purpose.’ So addressing stigma will be the main thread running through the conference, learning from each other during the day, and creating action points on a national level to take beyond the event. Alongside this, we will show how strong partnerships – with peers at their centre – can achieve so much. While it’s good to feel the solidarity of the crowd in the main sessions, we also considered that the smaller conversations are invaluable in examining issues at a personal level. So the afternoon’s roundtable sessions will offer a chance to ask questions and talk in a small group about specific issues, from treatment updates to legal advice. As ever, the exhibition area will be lively and informative, with peer displays, information, opportunities and advice – and the best networking in the land! We’re now finalising the programme, inviting our speakers, and planning every aspect of a great venue (including frequent refreshments, as usual!). Thank you to everyone who organised consultations and participated in them, especially Anna Millington and Lee Collingham who ran an inspiring online event, and to all of you who sent in suggestions through our online consultation form. Every suggestion been invaluable – not just to the conference programme, but also to our content planning for DDN magazine. We’re looking forward to a dynamic, productive and enjoyable day together, and hope you are too. THE DDN CONFERENCE… QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS What is it? The UK drug treatment field’s largest and most inclusive event Now in its 15th year the DDN conference is a unique opportunity for people with lived experience, services, commissioners and policymakers to come together to challenge stigma, share best practice and new initiatives, and build more inclusive, fairer treatment for all. The event includes a full conference programme, presentations, personal stories, and skill-sharing sessions. Its aim is to be highly interactive, with opportunities to have input into campaigns, give feedback on policy and join activists to make a difference to people’s lives. The exhibition and networking area will have over thirty stands and stalls from peer-led projects, treatment services, and companies showcasing the latest products and services. It is a fantastic chance to learn about all of the support available, including legal advice and employment guidance, as well as new skills and naloxone training. It’s not all work though! Get involved in sports activities and games, watch films and find out about entering the Recovery Film Festival. Relax with some free complementary therapies, and enjoy music, art and poetry. If that’s not enough to get you revved up, we’ve arranged free tickets to visit the National Motorcycle Museum at the end of the day! When is it? Thursday 13 July, 9.00am – 4.00pm Delegates can register from 9.00am and catch up with friends (old and new!) over refreshments. The programme will run from 10.00am–4.00pm, with breaks for refreshments, a full cooked lunch and a chance to network and visit the exhibition stands. Where is it? The National Conference Centre, also known as the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, B92 0EJ. Set on junction six of the M42 this fantastic venue provides easy access for cars, with ample free parking. Just a short five-minute taxi-ride from Birmingham International Station and close by Birmingham Airport, getting there couldn’t be easier. If you’re looking for overnight accommodation the DDN team are staying at the Arden Hotel and Leisure Club just five minutes from the venue. We’ve secured a discounted price of £99 inc vat (reduced from a rate of £139) and you can find the discount code and booking instructions on our site. There are other hotels close by, or there is a large choice of accommodation to suit all budgets just a short hop away in central Birmingham. Who should come? Everyone, it’s as simple as that! What makes this event unique is the diversity of its delegates. It’s a chance to meet and network with harm reduction advocates, recovery communities, representatives from central and local government, family support services, drug policy campaign groups, and inspiring individuals who are challenging stigma and fighting for social justice. We want to make every person in the room feel welcome and get so much out of the day. Bring delegates who have never visited a conference before and see them inspired! If you’re a commissioner that truly believes in co-production you have to be there to learn from presentations on partnership projects and see real examples of this working across the country. This is a one-off opportunity for services to showcase your work and engage colleagues. If you’re a long-serving professional who’s seen it all… you haven’t unless you’ve been to a DDN event! Get re-energised meeting colleagues from across the sector and share the enthusiasm of people running new, innovative projects. How do I book? You can book individual places, exhibition stands and group packages here. We’ve kept prices as low as possible and you can book tickets either as an individual via our website from as low as £75 or get in touch to discuss bringing a group along. To get funding, approach your local commissioner or service, explain the benefits of being there and ask them to support you and your group to attend. Be part of something! Join over 500 individuals and organisations for an inspiring, life-changing day!