National Lottery funding helps people recovering from substance misuse and mental health problems

“The Space,” a peer led project in Leeds managed and run by the Bridge Project Charity has received £332K from the Big Lottery Fund.

The project has a steering group led by the Space beneficiaries and provides a safe and sober social network alongside health and well-being activities for people leaving treatment.

Chief Executive of the Bridge Project Jon Royle said: “We’re delighted and incredibly grateful to have received this grant. The funding effectively secures the future of The Space for the next three years and will enable us to expand our membership and the scope of activities, including providing people with access to a range of qualifications and accredited courses. Wherever possible the planning and design of the service has been led by the members who use it, who are the real experts on their needs and requirements.”

The Space provides a vital link in supporting people who have recently completed substance misuse and mental health treatment programmes and have chosen to live a sober lifestyle. It helps break the cycle of substance misuse and offending through a combination of peer support and giving people the life skills and resilience to resist relapse and temptation.

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at Big Lottery Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, The Bridge Project will be able to continue providing much-needed support for people in recovery and people with mental health issues. We’re delighted to be funding such an amazing and important project to expand its work.”

Space beneficiary John said: ”It’s absolutely fabulous that The Space is getting Lottery money, so it can continue helping vulnerable individuals into recovery.”  Another member Barry described the funding as: “Like water in a desert”.

Volunteer Team Of The Month | June 2017

June’s Volunteer Team of the month …it’s Tina!

First of all, a massive thank you to Tina for all the support she offers to service users in the Vault, and at Unity Recovery Centre.

The number of hours given by Tina over the last 12 months is 192!

Tina provides reflexology and meditation sessions on a Monday and Friday. These sessions help people:

  • With relaxation, and promoting good sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve concentration
  • Increase self awareness, and increase positive emotions

A message from service users who have benefited from Tina’s sessions:

 “I have to say I was very sceptical about reflexology. The best way I could describe it is I had this ‘out of this world’ sensation and I found after reflexology I felt relaxed and very calm. I would recommend it to anyone”

“Over my recovery journey, from putting drugs down, to reducing meds, to living life I have gone to Tina to help to relax. The meditation and reflexology has now become a massive part of my recovery. Tina goes above and beyond for anyone who meets her and she is a wonderful, compassionate person.”

A message from Joe, Team Manager:

“Tina has been with us for many years now, probably the longest standing volunteer we have, and thanks to her commitment we have been able to deliver innovative and valuable additional support interventions to those using the services at Bridge. At a time when the value of alternative therapies had not yet fully been recognised in treatment services we were offering many types to our service users thanks to Tina. She has been a one-woman team since before I began working at Bridge, nearly 4 years ago, and her contribution and dedication has been second to none. Thanking Tina does not seem enough but hopefully it will go some way to demonstrate how valuable she is to our service and those who come through our doors.”

Some Great News, and Some Sad News

In my New Year’s message I expressed my confidence that Bridge would be successful in securing the Bradford Adult Substance Misuse and Recovery Service Contract. Today I am delighted to announce that in partnership with change, grow, live (CGL) and Project 6 we have been awarded the contract which will commence on 1st October 2017.

Bridge has proudly delivered services in Bradford for over 30 years and we look forward to continuing to serve the needs of our community. We have confidence in our partners and a strong and cohesive vision that will ensure service users continue to receive high quality, person centred care that inspires hope and recovery. Our priority over the coming months will be support our staff and service users through the changes and to ensure the transition is managed as smoothly as possible. You can read more about the new partnership on the CGL website by clicking here.

Whilst it’s always a joy to share the positive developments at Bridge such as winning tenders and funding I have some other news that isn’t so great! Unfortunately I am announcing that Forks café has ceased to trade from 30th May.

Forks has provided work experience and training to our clients since October 2014 and has become one of Bradford’s most popular and respected cafes. We have a loyal customer base, fantastic and dedicated staff, volunteers and trainees and the expectations we had when we set out on this journey have been exceeded. Our business model has always been dependent on external funding, as the costs associated with providing a training venue for people with complex needs far exceeds the turnover of even a successful commercial café. Unfortunately, due to central government cuts this funding is no longer available and consequently Forks has become financially unsustainable.

We will continue to provide work placements and traineeships to our beneficiaries in a modified format by transferring operations to our other café venue the Vault. I would like to thank all those who have supported us, given us their custom and contributed to the Forks success. We are proud of Fork’s achievements, especially the many trainees who have gone on to find employment and whose lives have been enriched.

Volunteer Team Of The Month | May 2017

May’s volunteer team of the month is The Vault Volunteers!

First of all, a massive thank you to our volunteers Jez, Jade, Sam, Kyra, Grennie, Jackie, Donna, Roy, Dave M, Jamie and Mark who have all given their time and passion to The Vault over the last three months. A big thank you also to Emma, Bryan, Rebecca, Faye, Michaela, Michelle, Farzana, Allison, Tracy, Jade, Ollie, Catherine and Nigel  who volunteered last year.

Number of hours given by volunteers to support the running of The Vault over the last 12 months: 4798!

The role of a volunteer in The Vault is to:

  • Be the first point of contact for people coming into the Vault café and groups
  • Support the running of the café, planning the menu and preparing and serving food and drinks
  • Promote recovery activities and be a positive role model, spending time going through the recovery activity guide with new and existing attendees
  • Support group facilitation and participate in group delivery where appropriate
  • Signpost individuals as needed to internal staff and services

What has been the impact of Vault volunteers?

  • In simple terms, volunteers have kept the vault open and running!!!
  • Individuals accessing the vault are supported and mentored, access recovery services and make hugely positive changes to their life – impacting on them holistically – health, wellbeing, finance, self belief, ambitions…the list is endless!
  • The vault really shows the power of people coming together as a recovery community, there is such a sense of belonging.

A message from Tony Gibson, Recovery Activities Coordinator :

“No words would do these volunteers justice, they are all stars in their own roles. The passion and commitment to supporting The Vault and its members is lovely to see.  It is privilege to have them on the team and I am grateful for the time they give.  I want to say a great big thank you to you all.”

A message from Joe Kean, Team Manager:

“I couldn’t be more proud of the service that we run in The Vault. Many places in the country talk about recovering communities but few are as active and visible as the one we have here in Bradford and, in particular, in The Vault. This simply would not be possible without the volunteers who are the glue that hold the place together; stepping in when needed and providing much more than just a café service – superbly welcoming attitude, dedicated, kind, thoughtful, professional and supportive of the ethos and practice that we all strive to achieve here at Bridge.”

A New Year Message From Jon Royle, CEO

I think it’s fair to say 2016 will not go down in our sector’s history as being one of its finest years! Nationally heroin deaths have doubled since 2011 and central government disinvestment in public health has resulted in the biggest reductions to substance misuse budgets in decades. At the same time Public Health England reports that alcohol misuse is now the leading cause of death in 15 to 49 year olds and 16% of all workplace absences are alcohol related. There is a lack of leadership and policy direction at government level, with delays publishing a new drug strategy and no sign of a national alcohol strategy on the horizon. And yet drugs continue to be a major social problem destroying lives, families, communities and according to the modern Crime Prevention Strategy 2016, being implicated in 50% of acquisitive crime and creating an economic burden of some £10.7bn per year.

So after a frosty start to my message let me bring in some New Year cheer. I believe 2017 will be Bridge’s finest yet! We face one of our biggest challenges ever, tendering for the adult service contract and designing a new system that will deliver high quality treatment and recovery services to the people of Bradford for at least the next 5 years. Fortunately I am surrounded by an amazing team of trustees, senior managers, managers, staff and volunteers dedicated to our mission and helping service users turn their lives around. I see this in the services we deliver, the feedback I get from clients and of course through the statistics and performance indicators we report on to our commissioners. But sometimes it’s the small stuff that tells me about the special people who make Bridge the organisation I’m proud to lead. Like the staff that voluntarily come in over Christmas, the people who take on great personal challenges to raise money for Bridge and the ones who offer support and encouragement to clients through the Bridge Recovery Facebook Group in their own time. Winning the tender is all about convincing commissioners that Bridge is the best organisation to deliver the new contract – is it any wonder that I’m so confident?!

2017 will be a year of transition and transformation for Bridge and our service users. Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting and full of opportunity and the way we can make the most of it is by supporting each other. Our work is about saving lives and helping people to achieve their full potential, it’s incredibly important and I know through your actions that you feel the same way as I do.  Let’s do our best to make the most of each and every day, helping our service users achieve their dreams and aspirations. I wish all of you and your families a fantastic and happy year ahead.

CEO Jon Royle on Addicitions to Painkillers

…At the Bridge Project, based in Bradford, staff had experienced success in running a benzodiazepine withdrawal service for the past seven years, targeting patients in primary health care and GP practices.‘Doing that kind of work in primary care, we were also coming across a great deal of patients addicted to prescribed painkillers as well,’ says Royle. As with the benzos, ‘these patients are never going to roll up at an addiction treatment service on the high street – but that doesn’t mean that there’s not tens of thousands of them out there, people who’d say “I’ve never been near an illegal drug in my life”…

Read the full article in Drink and Drug News here.



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