Recovery is the common outcome all Bridge services aim to achieve. Recovery is a journey of transformation enabling a person with a substance misuse problem to live a meaningful life in the community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
Bridge will use the following core principles to build resilience and facilitate Recovery:
- Fostering hope, as a source of motivation and strength for Service Users when trying to overcome challenges in their lives
- Enabling Service Users to take personal responsibility for their own self care and Recovery, for their families, children and the community
- Tailoring services to the unique needs of Service Users, building on the capacities, resiliences, talents, strengths and inherent worth of individuals
- Providing services that address all aspects of a Service User’s life, including substance misuse, housing, work, education, training, healthcare, offending, spirituality, family life, relationships, community participation and support networks
- Recognising the need for protection of individuals, families, children and the community
- Promoting the rights of Service Users and reducing the barrier of stigma by promoting positive messages about Recovery from real people
- Challenging all forms of discrimination and ensuring the inclusion and full participation of Service Users in all aspects of their lives
- Basing services on robust research
- Providing opportunities for Service Users to help and support each other, engendering a sense of belonging, promoting supportive relationships and community
- Empowering Service Users to have a right to participate in decisions that will affect their lives; the right to determine their own path of Recovery to achieve their goals
- Recognising that Recovery is based on growth, experiencing setbacks and learning from experience
- Actively encouraging Service Users to influence the design of services and participate in their evaluation and delivery
- Welcoming former Service Users and providing them with opportunites to become members of our volunteer and staff team
- Ensuring services respond to the needs of families and promote healthy and safe family life
Visionary and caring volunteers launched the Bridge Project back in 1983, with the aim of providing practical support to users of street drugs in Bradford. Government funding was secured for two counsellors, a co-ordinator, an administrator, an information officer, plus a training officer.
The following year, staff continued to provide advice, counselling and information for drug users and their families. They also provided awareness training to others working with drug users. A rehabilitation hostel was opened and a community-based solvent user advice worker appointed. Sadly, withdrawal of funding in the early 1990s meant the hostel had to close – a graphic demonstration of the ever-present concern about financial backing.
In 1997, Bridge moved to its present home in Salem Street and built on its expertise to develop specialist advice and information, a harm reduction service and needle exchange. Complimentary therapies were introduced as an innovative way to help users detoxify.
And for the first time, clients could look further than becoming drug free, as a training unit for them was opened.
By 1998 Lottery funding enabled Bridge to set up a separate service for young users and their families; for the first time a substitute prescribing programme was set up for this age group.
Over the next few years, a gym was installed– in cellars beneath the treatment areas, a Dual Diagnosis worker was employed to provide substitute prescribing to people with mental health problems not in touch with mainstream services and a specialist Hepatitis C worker joined the team. Specialist services for women drug users followed together with a post dedicated to working with homeless men. And in 2004 another building, 4 Hallfield Street, was purchased so that we could develop an independent Stimulant Service.
The organisation undertook a root and branch review in 2007 and produced a 3 year strategic plan to drive forward the next phase of its development. Over the next three years the Brdige staff team tripled in size as the organisation won significant new business, including the district wide Structured Day Programme ‘IMPACT’, a hostel liaison service, enhanced open access harm reduction service, benzodiazepine withdrawal service, a volunteering scheme and the contract to provide integrated substance misuse services for residents of South & West Bradford. This period of expansion saw the organisation become much more recovery focussed, culminating in the opening of the Unity Recovery Centre in 2011, a dedicated abstinence service.
In 2012 the Fresh Start Recovery Hub was launched. Hosted by Bridge, this is a partnership with the NHS providing a single point of contact for any adult requiring drug treatment in Bradford. The service works intensively with clients for 8 weeks ensuring they receive all the help and support they require at the start of their recovery journey.
Today Bridge is widely recognised as being innovative and recovery focussed and its services have been highlighted in national guidance publications as examples of best practice in the sector.