To relieve sickness, poverty and promote social inclusion through the provision of treatment, care, rehabilitation, education and training services to persons or members of their families who:
To empower people experiencing multiple barriers to achieve positive change.
A place where everyone can achieve a fulfilling life.
Bridge is a value driven organisation. These strong values are at the heart of all we do as we believe in people’s ability to change and their right to high quality services:
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 a 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:
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 Bridge 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 was 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.
In 2012 the new Health and Social Care Act presaged a reduction in funding for substance misuse services and Bridge recognised the need to diversify its portfolio of services and projects.
In 2013 Bridge became the Bradford delivery partner within the West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WY-FI) programme, which was part of the of Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives Programme of strategic investment across 12 areas of the country.
The WYFI programme ran until 2019. The programme proved an extremely effective way to engage and support some of our most vulnerable service users with very complex disadvantages. These service users were often ‘falling through the gaps’ as more traditional approaches did not meet their needs. The WI-FI programme was based on a navigation model design which involves distinct stages of delivery and clear principals of model design. Through this delivery Bridge have amassed a significant body of learning and evidence with regards to navigation model implementation and delivery. From this pilot further growth was achieved through the start of several new navigation-based projects including:
The success and cost-effective impact of these initiatives has delivered positive outcomes for some of the hardest to reach individuals. We have seen these projects make a real difference to some very vulnerable service users, especially where mainstream services have not been able to engage or support them.
During this time Bridge also expanded its Education, Training and Employment services through the European Social Fund providing the STEP programme in both Leeds and Bradford for people currently unemployed and looking for work. The programme included close one-to-one employability interventions and 24 weeks. In 2023 we are delivery partners for Achieve a DWP funded programme of support and engagement for people in receipt of benefits who struggle to engage with JCP and need support to move towards employment. We are also delivery partners for SkillsHouse a partnership led by Bradford Council providing employability support for people across the district looking to move into work or improve their current employment situation.
In 2014 Bridge further expanded our portfolio by buying a new property on North Parade, Bradford and launching our social enterprise café, Forks. This provided a full refurbished café lounge and bakery giving hospitality and catering training and work experience to people recovering from substance problems. Unfortunately due to funding cuts Forks was forced to close in 2017.
In 2016 we brought Pelican House at 10 Currer Street with a vision to expand our service bases and provide additional welcoming and accessible space to work with our beneficiaries.
In 2017 the substance misuse contract for Bradford was consolidated into a single contract and Bridge partnered with Project 6 and Change, Grow, Live to provide the New Directions adult substance misuse service. Pelican House, following a full refurbishment, became the main non-clinical base for New Directions.
In 2018 Bridge began working with Primary Care Community Partnerships (CP) becoming a community anchor organisation and providing the Living Well Champion and volunteering programme for CP8 the Affinity Care partnership which comprises of 5 practices over 8 sites including Clayton, Wyke, Thornton, Denholme, Queensbury, Shipley and Greengates.
The first national Covid-19 lockdown came into effect on 26th March 2020. The pandemic caused significant dislocation to people’s lives, and to agency’s support pathways and delivery models. Throughout the pandemic Bridge’s Senior Leadership Team prioritised the safety of our staff, service users and stakeholders, whilst being committed to providing effective services to individuals with multiple and complex needs. Bridge remained fully operational and client facing throughout the covid crisis. No significant funding was lost due to the pandemic and no staff required furlough or were made redundant.
The Bridge Project remained open throughout the pandemic providing:
Launched in 2020 Together Talks Telephone Befriending Service was developed by Bradford Metropolitan District Council (BMDC), the local NHS and the Voluntary and Community Sector and The Bridge Project. Telephone Befriending is an opportunity to engage with a Befriender. Volunteer befrienders offer their time to support and discuss hobbies, interests and enable individuals to discuss their feelings helping to alleviate and manage issues such as anxiety, low moods or loneliness. It allows a time for human connection, incorporating active listening, emotional support and advice combined with signposting to other appropriate services. Volunteer befrienders make regular contact to have a conversation, giving the opportunity to connect to others from their own home and is available for anyone 18 years or above. To date we have 110 Active fully trained Volunteers matched to 121 Active Befriendees
Bridge have long acknowledged that access to suitable housing for our clients has been a significant barrier to them achieving sustained recovery and positive life changes. During 2020 Bridge developed a new pilot project for recovery housing. Our Housing Support Officer (HSO) secures tenancies In the Bridge Project’s name, which we sub-let to clients. The HSO provides support to maintain the tenancy/upkeep the property while our navigators provide an individualised package of wrap around support to meet diverse needs. Our portfolio of properties is growing in response to need, and the recovery housing project is developing as a critical element of the overarching package of support we are able to offer our beneficiaries.
In late 2022, following a successful tender, a new partnership between the Bridge Project, Project 6 and Humankind was formed to deliver a new adult substance misuse service for the Bradford and Craven District. New Visions Bradford lunched on 1st April 2023 and aims to help people tackle the misuse of alcohol and drugs and reduce risk taking behaviour through dedicated prevention, intervention, and support.
The service also supports people to help them achieve and sustain recovery from alcohol and drug misuse through a range of treatments. The partnership of experienced local providers offers a complete choice of services, enabling us to provide help to anyone no matter how simple or complex their needs.