As in recovery itself, many hurdles had to be overcome by Recovery Rocks, Nottingham’s first celebration of recovery and local music. There were issues with bands pulling out and venue availability, but in the end partnership working between two of the city’s local partners showcased local musical talent and celebrated recovery. SCUF, formerly the Shared Care User Forum and until Nottingham’s recent treatment reconfiguration, a user-led health campaign group, came together with Double Impact, an aftercare service and a partner in the new Recovery In Nottingham service, to make the event a success.
Having been involved in recent award-winning anti-stigma campaigns, SCUF members also took the opportunity to do some groundwork for their current campaign ‘Labels’, which will be presented at upcoming events as part of their continued work to highlight stigma and the effect it may have on someone’s treatment journey and mental health and wellbeing.
As experiences and research have shown, many people still don’t engage with treatment services or take full advantage of the support on offer for fear of being looked down upon or stigmatised – not only by people in treatment and healthcare but also by society in general.
A particular service or department can leave them feeling low and reluctant to engage because of how others see them. Often many other areas of their life are intertwined with their substance misuse or are a cause of it, such as mental health and homelessness.
Recovery Rocks aimed to raise funds to provide sleeping bags for those unfortunate enough to find themselves homeless in Nottingham over the festive period and also towards the start-up costs of SOBAR, Nottingham’s first alcohol-free bar, venue and restaurant.
Singer-songwriter Marc Reeves opened the evening’s proceedings, followed by a collection of artists including Sleeping Soldier and rock poet Miggy Angel, before the crowd were mesmerised by the melodic Rebecca King. Up-and-coming rock and blues artist John Lennon McCullagh, who recently signed to Alan McGee’s new record label 359, performed in front around 200 people and a raffle was held to raise further funds.
Feedback from the event was that it was an enjoyable evening and an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of addiction while highlighting harm reduction, with an alcohol-free bar upstairs as well as alcohol for those who wished to drink safely. This worked really well, with no reported incidents of drunkenness or trouble.
Following the success of this first event there are already discussions for it to become an annual event. The money raised after expenses has been split evenly between Double Impact and SCUF’s representatives the homeless team, to provide sleeping bags at a homeless breakfast event.
SCUF and Double Impact would like to express their gratitude to all those who helped organise the evening, the artists, and those who attended, for their support.
Lee Collingham is a service user activist in Nottingham