DDN June 2017 DDN July2017 - Page 7

Share your stories at: www.drinkanddrugsnews.com L-R: Multi-agency offices in Brighton; visiting nurse Mike confers with ASB caseworker Kristina; outreach worker Scott, with Dolores from head office and manager Jesse. ‘One of the things we try to instil in the team is that you need to be assertive and have confidence... when you lose posts and money, you have to work more closely together.’ door. We can now go on working with them and liaise. The drop out rates are down – it’s been amazing.’ Another success is that the team all carry naloxone in their bags, and consider that this should be mandatory everywhere. The success of partnership working has energised the team’s proactive approach to trying different initiatives, and Wilde describes how ‘Sensible on Strength’, seen to be working well in Norwich, has been adopted by Brighton and is highly successful in tackling anti-social behaviour and improving public health. Around 200 alcohol retailers have agreed to take high-strength alcohol off their shelves, through working with the local authority and local residents. ‘It’s now rare to see a can of Tennents Super,’ adds Crossley. ‘I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be this successful.’ He recalls how an incident black spot near to an off-licence – a place where an inebriated girl once got run over by a bus – has been transformed. Following pressure from residents the licence was revoked until opening hours were changed and the shop agreed not to sell super-strength alcohol. A local doctor has called the project ‘the single most important health initiative in recent years’. Such initiatives contribute significantly to the health of homeless clients and are also helpful in improving relations with the local community. Each month progress is discussed at a ‘high impact case forum’, involving police, the substance misuse teams and other community partners, covering the most offensive forms of anti- social behaviour, from urinating on the street to aggressive begging. Ideas and action points from the group feed back out to the day to day work with many community partners, including the church, city college and local residents. ‘There’s an entrepreneurial element to being a frontline worker,’ suggests Wilde. Increasing complexity among clients, mental health services that are stretched to the limit, and the fact that substance misuse and mental health funding still exist separately – not to mention a massive 25 per cent cut of PHE funding to the outreach team – mean that staff are faced with more challenges than ever. ‘One of the things we try to instil in the team is that you need to be assertive and have confidence,’ he says. ‘When you lose posts and money, you have to work more closely together.’ The outreach team also benefits hugely from having members who are themselves in recovery. ‘It’s made them a lot more “no nonsense” about the work,’ he says. ‘They know what a blag is.’ The team also has little time for strategies that sit on the page and make little sense in the hand-to-mouth environment of the street. Crossley dismisses ‘off the shelf’ recovery and talks about harm reduction side by side – part of the ‘whole person’ vision. ‘I hate that word “motivation”,’ says Crossley, referring to target-speak for a moment. ‘Our guys have a different motivation – not to get sick; to get money to get drugs. These guys aren’t going to sit in groups. They have a £200 a day habit and they need to beg. For these people you have to throw “motivation” out the window. If you ask them “do you want to be injecting in the neck?” they’d say no. They have no choice.’ DDN June 2017 | drinkanddrugsnews | 7