DDN Magazine November 2020 - Page 14


The right


The Recovery Connectors group and lived experience recovery organisations ( LEROs ) are reshaping the way we look at recovery , say David Best , Stuart Green , Dave Higham , Tim Sampey , Tim Leighton , Jardine Simpson , Michaela Jones , Dot Smith and Ed Day

Long before the

championing of recovery in the Drug strategy 2010 , there were incredible efforts across the country – many run on a shoestring – to provide hope , guidance and support for people in recovery , often outside of formal treatment structures . These efforts have been increasingly important as a result of austerity and the reduction in mainstream funding for specialist services , and have been brought more into focus during the COVID pandemic when looking at what community support there is posttreatment .
These organisations and groups have often had to survive on goodwill and sometimes small sub-contracts – vulnerable to being cut if the overall contract fails to deliver , and open to the criticism of lacking formal evidence and credibility through reporting mechanisms such as NDTMS . This is not always the case , yet it provided the impetus for the Recovery Connectors group to form .
Starting in May , a group of ten champions of recovery from different corners of the recovery ecosystem began to meet on a weekly basis to share their thoughts and support each other . An agenda quickly developed consisting of five objectives :
1 . To expand the scope beyond a narrow definition of recovery to include all of those damaged by exclusion and marginalisation – and so the term LERO ( lived experience recovery organisation ) was born
2 . To provide a platform for sharing and disseminating the innovations that are central to recovery-oriented organisations
3 . To agree on a core set of values for lived experience recovery organisations
4 . To create an evidence base for recovery organisations to provide credibility and professionalism
5 . To develop a set of standards for LEROs as a framework for growth and development , rather than a cage .
MEANINGFUL LIVES It ’ s no coincidence that these five objectives connect to form another acronym – LIVES . The aim of all LEROs is to support individuals , families and communities to lead positive and meaningful lives that contribute to the wellbeing of their communities . This parallels and builds on our previous work on ‘ recovery cities ’ based on the notion of developing community growth and wellbeing . Our early endeavours have seen a recent round table contribution to the Dame Carol Black review and have been highlighted by
William White in his blog : http :// www . williamwhitepapers . com / blog / 2020 / 09 / networking-ukrecovery-community-organizationsa-2020-progress-report-david-bestand-co-authors . html
LINKING TO THE NORTHERN RECOVERY COLLEGE There was a natural fit between the LERO initiative and the Northern Recovery College ( DDN , April 2019 , page 6 ) which has for the last three years been running events across Yorkshire and Humber as a partnership between the University of Derby , Spectrum , RDaSH ( Rotherham , Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust ) and ADS ( Alcohol & Drug Service ), with the aims of : >> Educating the alcohol and other drug treatment workforce about recovery
>> Providing a forum for people in recovery to learn , innovate , share and develop their understanding and knowledge
>> Generating different experiential learning for the attendees
The event held on 25 September was the formal launch of the Recovery Connectors group and the LERO initiative , using the Recovery College principles but delivered online . The aim was to explain the logic of the approach and canvas initial opinions and willingness to engage from
‘ The way LEROs have been grassroots , each unique , and each owning their own approaches , has been communitydriven and deeply democratic .’
outside the current group .
The day started with a panel discussion involving all of the Recovery Connectors , offering a discussion of what the aims of the group are and how we are intending to evolve , and highlighting that LEROs are truly person-centred and asset-based rather than systemcentred and deficit-based on health needs assessments .
The remaining three hours were expertly hosted on Zoom by our Canadian colleagues Peter and Yvonne from Axiomnews . com , who ensured that everyone had a chance to express their views and become actively involved . The Axiom News team have been practicing assetbased community development