DDN 0715 - page 11

allow someone else to speak for them. The
origin of the contemporary North West
recovery movement began when a small
group of people came together to ask each
other if there could be more to treatment
than staying alive, keeping out of jail and
being HIV-free.
The North West legacy has three key
messages: that modernised treatment
services can initiate recovery; that recovery is
a community thing based on jobs, homes
and friends; and that the future of
sustainable health and social care systems
lies in asset-based community development.
In April 2014, the National Offender
Management Service (NOMS) and Public
Health England (PHE) launched a scheme
to work with prisoners who signed up to
abstinence-based recovery support during
their journey through the penal system –
Through The Gate, later renamed by
July/August 2015 |
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More good practice stories at
The North West of
has a reputation
for leadership and
innovation in responding
to the challenges of addiction. The
Merseyside harm reduction response to
heroin in the 1980s has taken on legendary
status, while the comic capers of
Grandpa Smackhead Jones
Peanut Pete
were eagerly followed in the
late 1980s and 1990s.
The North West is now the epicentre of
the UK ‘recovery movement’. The common
denominator in 30 years of North West
developments is ethnographic authenticity
– the people on the receiving end of
research, policy and practice would never
Ray Jenkins
Mark Gilman
talk about the North
West’s contributions to the UK recovery movement
A group of
from Sheffield
Hallam University and the University of
Sheffield, alongside representatives from the
main treatment providers in the city, formed
the Sheffield Addiction Recovery Research
Group (SARRG) in September 2014 to support
an existing vibrant recovery community in
SARRG is a peer-led group, which
undertakes research and action aimed at
enhancing recovery from addiction. The group
has formed a coalition of people in recovery,
services, commissioners, academics and the
wider community, representing differing
pathways to recovery, promoting events and
providing help and expert advice.
We are ideally placed to help bridge the gap
between treatment providers and
the research community. Drawing on
the academic strengths of SARRG members,
we can capitalise on the rich repository of skills
and experience – creating research grounded
in the ‘lived experience’ of real people.
SARRG’s vision is to make Sheffield the UK’s
foremost recovery city, providing a model of
advanced recovery research and action for
others to follow.
The group was officially launched as part of
Social Justice Week. The event included a
presentation by Professor David Best of the
findings from the US and Australian Life in
Recovery surveys, as well as the launch of the
first UK Life in Recovery survey.
There was also the launch of the
Sheffield Addiction Recovery Research Panel
(ShARRP), the region’s first addiction patient
and public involvement (PPI) group, and a
screening of the
Dear Albert
film. The day
culminated in lively debate about what
recovery means, and how the buzz created
could be harnessed to maximise the reach
and impact of the group.
The group is now working on several
research initiatives, including a city-wide
recovery asset mapping exercise, organising a
similar social justice conference for 2016, as
well as planning and promoting lively and
inspiring events as part of this September’s
recovery month.
Andy Irving is a researcher at the University
of Sheffield
For more information about SARRG visit
Andy Irving
discusses a new
project in Sheffield aimed at
promoting research, good
practice and joined-up working
‘SARRG’s vision
is to make
Sheffield the
UK’s foremost
recovery city,
proving a
model of
research and
action for
others to
service users as Gateways.
Prisoners are engaged with coaches
recruited from local recovery communities
prior to and upon release. Coaches are
selected as experts by experience and
trained to engage people by sharing their
story, while facilitating access to community
support, including mutual aid meetings,
family support and recovery housing.
The other defining feature of the North
West is pragmatism. We want recovery and
you want to save money. So, why don’t we
come together and design systems of
treatment and recovery that will keep the
harm reduction gains while promoting
recovery at the same time?
Ray Jenkins is director at Emerging
Horizons and Emerging Futures CIC,
Mark Gilman
is managing director at Discovering Health,
shaRing knowledge
RecoveRy Rising
‘A small group
of people came
together to ask
each other if
there could be
more to treat-
ment than staying
alive, keeping
out of jail and
being HIV-free.’
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