DDN Magazine June 2021 June 2021 | Page 21

HAVE YOUR SAY Write to the editor and get it off your chest claire @ cjwellings . com
2 . TO UNDERTAKE AN AUDIT OF INNOVATION and good practice in LEROs across the UK 3 . TO UNDERTAKE FIELDWORK that will inform the development of our quality standards 4 . TO SET UP A CLERO WEBSITE to engage with LEROs and with other key stakeholders
To support this , on 27 and 28 April we ran the first two of four days ’ training over Zoom and in the offices of the Well in Barrow in Furness . Thirty-one people with lived experience participated from across the UK , and will become a cohort of lived experience researchers who will design , carry out , analyse and write up the audit and the standards fieldwork . We will look to run another round of this training in 2022 , drawing from the membership of the CLERO ( our tier 2 partners ).
The event was hugely successful and we will use the follow-up two days late in May to finalise our research work and to start the process of measuring what it is LEROs do and achieve – please join us and contribute to our journey . For further information about joining please contact LERO . connectors @ gmail . com
David Best is professor of criminology at the University of Derby . Dave Higham is founder of The Well Communities
drugs . Like them , they will find that really doing the job properly involves a preparedness to bend some rules and extend beyond comfort zones in favour of an overarching rule – to do the best you can for your patient , client and community .
Kazim did not just exemplify that generation of giants , but challenged it and took it by the hand to make it aware of the racerelated dimensions of its work , leaving a legacy in the form of many who would otherwise never have considered race and racism were issues for them or their services . He taught them that if they are truly to do the best for all their actual and potential service users , these issues can no longer be sidelined – and that the examination of systemic racism will improve a service not just for visible minority populations , but also for the ‘ white ’ majority .
As well as his vocational legacy , Kazim leaves behind someone for whom he always expressed a tender love – his wife Anita , a pocket dynamo with a monumental personality , and also a much-loved figure in the substance use sector , and his daughter Yumna and grandson Jamie .
Born in a leap year on 29 February , Kaz would joke that he was really only 21 . He will be remembered as forever youthful in his charm and openness to new experiences and learning , even though he had so much to teach the rest of us . Mike Ashton

I AM A ...

Lena Larsen is a volunteer service user representative at Change Grow Live ’ s community drug service in St Helens , Merseyside

During the pandemic volunteering has been on a digital platform but it really has been good . So a typical day can be varied , from facilitating groups online via Zoom to attending service user involvement meetings .

The digital offer at Change Grow Live St Helens can vary from creative recovery – where we do all different types of activities from cooking , gardening , painting to crochet , and also a check in and chat to provide support – to peer to peer , SMART meetings , and meditation . We also have a structured timetable which is facilitated by staff .
So my typical day is supporting and being the voice for our service users . We really are a team at Change Grow Live . My role is very rewarding and I feel privileged to be able to watch people grow and live a life free from addiction .
We hold a fortnightly service user forum in which we discuss upcoming changes and events , and put our ideas and views forward . These go to staff and changes are made . Then monthly we have a service user involvement meeting in the north west where we all share ideas about what works and what doesn ’ t . My role is a service user representative , so I ’ m still a service user but am able to use my own lived experience to help others on their recovery journey .
Volunteering can vary week to week – one week could be six hours and the next could be 30 hours , but each minute is so worthwhile . The roles I am currently doing are regional service user representative , naloxone peer educator and a check-in and chat role . With volunteering you can commit to as little or as much as you like – it really is a great start to beginning a life free from addiction .
The best part of my role is watching service users change – from appearing on Zoom all chaotic , in the thick of addiction , to becoming a valued part of the group . It really is so rewarding . As part of the team at Change Grow Live we work at our own centre and also at regional and national level , representing our service users up and down the country .
To anyone considering volunteering , I would say ‘ GO FOR IT !!’ Doing this role really is rewarding , including doing the training and feeling part of – and being able to represent – our service . It ’ s also given me confidence , self-worth , meaning and a purpose . For once in my life my own lived experience has come in handy as I can be empathic and identify with service users . The training and belief that staff have given me really have changed my life – I am proof that we can all change , grow and live .
I would like to say thank you to all the staff who have encouraged and believed in me and given me this opportunity , especially my manager Amanda Taft who believed in me when I didn ’ t . Again , all I can say is go for it !
OUR ‘ I AM A …’ CAREERS SERIES aims to share knowledge and experience of different careers in the sector . You can take part through the ‘ get in touch ’ button on our website : www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / i-am-a /