DDN July_Aug_2022 DDN July/August 2022 - Page 8

‘ Getting people into work is what it ’ s all about . It makes a huge difference in people ’ s lives .’
REBECCA ODEDRA
their recovery ?’ UK drug policy had let down generations of families and young people , he stated . ‘ If we truly want visible recovery for all then we all need to speak about the gaps in services and this underrepresentation .’ His organisation had been involved in research with Cardiff , Sheffield Hallam and Middlesex universities to highlight these issues , he said , and was asking for ‘ change in policy and how we commission , how we design services . What we don ’ t want is to be an afterthought , a tokenistic gesture . We want to be an integral part of the system , right at the heart of it . Because we ’ re part of this society , and our communities are suffering beyond measure .’
RECOVERY FOR LIFE BAC-IN was about ‘ recovery for life ’, he said . ‘ We have a programme that ’ s culturally responsive , culturally competent , culturally sensitive , a visible reflection of the community it serves . BAC-IN is an expression of the community , an energy of change inspired by the community .’ Culturally responsive provision embraced race , identity , ethnicity ,
language and cultural heritage , he said . ‘ It provides an alternative route into treatment and recovery , and speaks to and embodies the values and beliefs of the whole person . It ’ s holistic , adaptable , culturally sensitive and inclusive .’
While the government ’ s new money would go a long way to filling some of the gaps in provision , the challenge was how to ensure the new system worked for everyone , said his colleague , senior recovery worker David Thomas . ‘ That includes women , those on the margins of society and BAME communities .’ While people understandably spoke passionately about these issues there was also a business case , he stressed . ‘ We all want to live in a society in which we ’ re safe , and we all want to live in inclusive communities . It ’ s incumbent on us all not just to look at system change but to look at individual change – what more could I do to understand more about the people we ’ re here to serve ? The challenge of the new drug strategy is how do we get this system working for all .’
PAYING DIVIDENDS When it came to the vital issue of getting people into paid employment , WDP ’ s individual placement and support ( IPS ) model ( DDN , April , page 9 ) was paying real dividends , said WDP ’ s head of reintegration , Rebecca Odedra . ‘ I genuinely feel passionate about this – I think getting people into work is what it ’ s all about . It makes a huge difference in people ’ s lives .’ In the UK there were around
300,000 adults in treatment for drugs or alcohol , with the majority still failing to find work . ‘ We all know the current market is difficult , but it ’ s even more difficult with those additional barriers .’ IPS had originally started around 20 years ago in the mental health sector in the US , with extremely positive outcomes . It had been recommended to be trialled in drug and alcohol settings , with funding for a pilot in west London .
‘ As the Dame Carol Black report highlighted , getting and keeping a job is one of the most important things ,' she said . Paid employment could boost confidence , motivation and ensure financial independence – but it was ‘ so much more than that as well .' WDP ’ s partners in the project included eight local authorities and eight local commissioning groups , as well as two Jobcentre Plus . ‘ For us it ’ s really important to make this sustainable and make this last . We know that this works .’
SERVICE USER SUCCESS Working closely with service users was vital to the success of the project , she stressed – ‘ we focus on people ’ s readiness to get into work .
It ’ s not about what the keyworker says . If the client says they want to get into work , then they come on our programme .’
IPS was an intensive model that worked closely with employers and there had now been more than 250 job outcomes in the project since 2019 , with more than 4,000 hours of support provided and 100 per cent of participants stating that they ’ d recommend the project . ‘ The team work really creatively to try to help people get into work , and they really believe in our service users – that makes a huge difference . Pre-COVID we were achieving a 36 per cent job start rate and 38 per cent sustainment rate ’, with people entering work in a wide range of fields . ‘ It could be anything from entry level to high executive level , across all sorts of different industries .
‘ This sort of work is something that ’ s been needed in the sector for so long and we need to keep advocating , keep growing and keep reaching more and more people to get them into paid work ,’ she said . ‘ It ’ s more than just a job for people . We ’ ve seen improved health outcomes , increased confidence and motivation – it gives so much more meaning to life . It gives hope .’ DDN
8 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • JULY / AUGUST 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM