A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
Jennie Chapman shares Red Rose Recovery ’ s DDN conference experience
Almost 50 service users , volunteers and staff at Red Rose Recovery made the five-hour road trip to Birmingham to participate in the conference .
Many were attending for the first time and among those making their DDN debut was Linzi Jackson , a lead volunteer in Red Rose Recovery ’ s Lancaster-based north team , who said the event was everything she ’ d hoped for . ‘ I just had a massive sense of pride ,’ she said . ‘ What I loved was that there were no distinctions – whether you were a service user , volunteer , staff member or a senior director , everyone belonged , was valued , and had something to contribute .’
She added : ‘ I ’ m so proud of what I do [ as a volunteer ]. It ’ s taken a lot of years to build my sense of self-worth . Now I see that transformation in others – people going from having major social anxiety , to integrating into peer support groups , finding a community , and finally being able to support others . Together , we are a force to be reckoned with .’
Jason Hayes , another lead volunteer who works with the charity ’ s Central team in Preston , said the DDN Conference was a ‘ celebration of all the people doing the hard work behind the scenes ’ – the volunteers and peer supporters ‘ fighting for change and saving people ’ s lives ’.
The conference had additional significance for Jason – almost 20 years ago , he heard a speech delivered by Dr Ed Day and become a fan , reading his articles , listening to his speeches and seeing how lived experience has progressed from the peripheries of services to centre stage .
‘ Back then , you didn ’ t see people with lived experience at needle exchanges , going out to feed the homeless , leading support groups ,’ said Jason . At this year ’ s DDN conference , he finally shook hands with the man whom he said had been ‘ massively important ’ for his own recovery .
We had a fantastic day at the DDN conference and to join our LERO voices with the service user lived experience voice was amazing . Dave Higham , The Well Communities
There was a great turnout and vibe from attendees – and it was lovely to have done this face to face . Rebecca Odedra , head of reintegration , Recovery in Action Team , WDP
The conference was brilliant – we got a chance to meet other LEROs from across the country and to present / display BAC-IN ’ s peer led recovery model and cultural challenges faced by many from minoritised communities in accessing and engaging mainstream treatment and recovery services . Sohan Sahota , BAC-IN
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