Service user involvement

The Worm coverThe worm has turned

The Worm, a new service user-led magazine recently launched in Haringey, is tackling stigma and promoting a positive image of people in recovery

Back in July 2014, a group of individuals accessing treatment at Haringey’s alcohol treatment service decided to get together and use their personal experiences to do something to address the stigma faced by those in recovery.

They settled on the idea of a magazine to promote understanding about recovery, and, slowly, a team began to form, encouraged to use the skills they already possessed. With the backing of the service staff, founding member Jac Geraghty applied for – and ultimately received – funding for the project.

The Worm was born, and after much hard work, an event – which included music, poetry readings and a film screening – was held in July at Haringey Recovery Service to launch the first issue. It has been distributed by hand to more than 70 locations including libraries and GP surgeries, both locally and nationally.

Everyone who contributes their time to the magazine receives Haringey time credits – a community currency that recognises voluntary support of other people and services, which can then be spent at a number of time credit partners. This helps the team to continue making The Worm, as they can use the time credits to rent meeting spaces or go to the cinema to review a film for the magazine.

Once the funding for the first issue has been used, the magazine aims to be self-funding, so the team are busy contacting local businesses and charities to invite them to advertise in future editions and keep the positive message going.


The Worm 1Founding member and editor-in-chief Jac Geraghty talks about how it all began

One day I had an idea for a magazine – and that idea was realised by extremely talented people, all of whom are in recovery.

We received funding for one issue from Haringey council’s Bright Sparks scheme. They gave us nearly £2,000, which allowed us to buy a computer and print our magazine. With this investment, we will be able to be self-sufficient in producing our upcoming issues, and the plan is to produce four a year.

We have also been greatly supported by Haringey time credits and Haringey Recovery Service – a partnership between St Mungo’s Broadway and alcohol support charity HAGA.

The idea came about during a tea break at Breaking Ground, part of the HAGA sustainment programme. It was then realised during the abstinence-based day programme, and has gone on to be a phenomenal success.

The plan behind The Worm was to hone and build on already established skills within our recovery programme. To be honest, it started out slowly, but once word spread we were inundated with ideas and contributions. We have a Facebook page, Twitter account, blog and, of course, our magazine. We are actively recruiting new members – from feature writers and researchers to sales and marketing managers.

I am extremely proud that The Worm has grown, and we are now a force of nature. The magazine is a community, and an extremely strong one at that. The Worm stands for Working to Overcome Recovery Misconceptions, and I think we are living up to that statement.

Spread the word – we are The Worm and we have arrived!

For more information, visit or The Worm Facebook page,