and develop by shadowing some very knowledgeable mentors and by attending many courses . I was also able to gain valuable experience working with services users by co-facilitating health trainings and non-dependent groups .
As well as helping service users with their drug and alcohol issues , I ’ ve also been able help them with other areas of their life . Some of our service users don ’ t have access to the internet and they struggle to fill in online forms , which can make it difficult for them to access essential services like benefits and housing support . I ’ ve helped people access benefits and food vouchers by supporting them with form filling and contacting agencies . My volunteering experience has also helped in my own personal life as I ’ ve developed transferable life skills such as boundary setting , SMART goals , and office etiquette .
Volunteering has boosted my self-confidence and sense of achievement , and has helped me achieve my career goal to work in the drug and alcohol field . I will soon be starting a full-time paid position at WDP as a navigator practitioner . Don ’ t be afraid to try new things – volunteering is a lifechanging experience .
MAKING THE CONNECTION
was in treatment at Derbyshire Recovery Partnership when my key worker first introduced me to Recovery through Nature ( RtN ), run by Phoenix Futures . I connected with the programme straight away – I thought it was a brilliant opportunity not only to connect with nature but also to people with similar experiences as me in a safe environment . After two years of being on the programme , I finished treatment and became a volunteer . This was just as the country went into the first lockdown , but fortunately I was able to keep volunteering as the gardens still needed to be maintained . I ’ m not sure what I would have done without RtN at this time .
‘ I wanted to give something back and volunteering has been a great way for me to do this .’
I had to leave my job when I came into treatment . It was so linked to my using that I didn ’ t feel I could go back into that same kind of environment , but volunteering has opened up opportunities for me to get back into employment . Soon I will be starting to do some paid sessional work for Phoenix . As a volunteer it ’ s really important that you can talk to and connect with a wide range of people . I think that ’ s definitely one skill I ’ ve developed , and having lived experience helps with that . I just wanted to help people , like people helped me . I wanted to give something back and volunteering has been a great way for me to do this .
Some names have been changed at volunteers ’ request
Cranstoun ’ s new overdose prevention app is looking for volunteers , says project lead Peter Krykant
At Cranstoun , we ’ re always looking for new ways to support people who use drugs and bringing innovations from across the globe to improve what we can offer to communities in the UK and Ireland . We ’ d been thinking for some time about what we can do more of to support some of the people at higher risk of drug-related harm , especially those who use drugs alone and are maybe at higher risk of overdose .
That ’ s why we ’ ve developed BuddyUp – a new app which will work across the country , no matter who the local
‘ Initially we ’ re drug and alcohol support provider is . We ’ re going to looking for be launching imminently and we ’ re currently on the volunteers based search for volunteers . It ’ s on four hours a simple premise – people can download the app and spent logged into have access to a Cranstoun volunteer at the other end the app per week , of a free phone line . That with full training , volunteer would be able to activate an emergency plan equipment and that they had setup with the app user so that they could aftercare offered .’ access physical support . This could be accessing their location to send help from an emergency contact , which could be a friend , family member or the ambulance service – it ’ s always on their terms . The app user can work with our volunteers to easily set up their own emergency plan which can be triggered should they become unresponsive . A similar app was developed by the Brave Co-op in Canada , who we ’ ve been working closely with in producing our new piece of technology .
We ’ re well underway in looking for volunteers to be supporters and life savers by being on standby to help prevent overdose and potentially death . Initially we ’ re looking for volunteers based on four hours spent logged into the app per week , with full training , equipment and aftercare offered . This would be a really great opportunity for anybody wanting to play a part in saving lives and preventing drug-related deaths . We also anticipate it would stand our volunteers in good stead for careers in our sector and others .
More on the BuddyUp app at cranstoun . org / buddyup
8 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • JUNE 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM