How Covid-19 is impacting but not preventing our service to assist sister organisation Addictions North East

Addictions UK (ADUK) is very proud of our sister service Addictions North East (ADNE) and how during these difficult times they are still operating to serve some of the most vulnerable individuals in the County Durham region.

ADNE was founded in 2002, with the aim to help individuals in the north of England find recovery and stability regarding, housing, money management, employability and mental health.

ADNE serves to provide safe and adequate supported residential housing with 24/7 support from a dedicated team of professionals, who are not only qualified academically but also have a history of recovery from substance misuse or have been a carer of someone with substance abuse issues.

Many of the service users accessing ADNE for support, have found themselves homeless or unable to be housed in their family environment due to historic and generational substance misuse.

This had led to them being trapped in the grips of addiction and rehousing these service users, provides the best opportunity for the individual to find long-lasting recovery, with the assistance of ADNE staff and mutual aid facilitated support groups.

Supporting service users wellbeing and health

One of the enterprises ADNE has run, with the assistance of UK charity ‘Fareshare’, is a very popular and mandatory attended Breakfast Club and Lunch Club. This is an opportunity for staff and service users to converse over a healthy balanced meal and a warm drink.

Our service users rely heavily on this service and many find it easy to communicate and gain a feeling of self-worth as they help prepare a menu for their peers to enjoy.

There are many values to this kind of service and ADNE understand the value nutrition and connection can play on an individual’s mental health.

In addition to these psychological benefits, there are many practical benefits such as planning, food preparation, food hygiene, portion budgeting and discipline that our service users develop. All of which are fantastic to building a foundation for life on life’s terms once they have progressed from our service.

Facing challenges during lockdown

Sadly, as you can imagine Covid-19 and the unprecedented guidelines that the UK Government has installed — rightly so for the safety of our key workers, service users and the general public — has unfortunately meant we have had to cease this service.

Many of our service users have a range of underlying health issues from blood born viruses to respiratory issues that place them in the ‘high risk’ category of those that could most be affected by Covid-19.

Like many other third sector organisations, this has posed the question of, how best to support our service user base without putting them at extra risk of contracting Covid-19?

We understand that our service users still need support but also need to be kept safe. It is because of this that we have recently fitted a secure video entrance system to our office.

This allows us to not only allow one service user into our office at any one time, but to communicate with a service user to inform them if the office is currently occupied, without them having to enter the premises, instead of diverting them to a part of the facility where they can wait and minimise contact with others, thus cutting their risk of infection.

In addition, our staff have set up online remote video support channels and can facilitate support groups for individuals to ensure structure continues to be delivered. This can be on a one-to-one, or group basis.

We have ensured that all our service users have wifi and unlimited high-speed broadband in each property so that connectivity is always maintained and avenues for communication and support are always open. Our staff are regularly contacting service users to support, advise and listen to them through this difficult period.

Diversifying our services

Regarding Fareshare, our staff are working to ensure the food we now can’t use for the Breakfast and Lunch Clubs is divided, boxed and delivered to our service users doorsteps to make sure they have enough food in the cupboards and the option of a healthy meal at least once a day.

This also helps reduce the amount of time our service users must go out to restock cupboards and put themselves at further risk.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their commitment to their service users and hard work at this time and further thank Fareshare and their staff, for ensuring that food still gets to those who are most in need of it.

If you would like to know more about what ADNE and ADUK do to help our service users or feel this a service that you or someone could benefit from please don’t hesitate to contact us on our dedicated phone line or on our online form.