Conversations about Recovery 1st February 2013

North Ayrshire Council ROSC Policy Officer convened the Conversations about Recovery event on 01/02/13 as a follow up to the first Conversations about Recovery event held on 14/12/12.  Both of these events looked to include users of addiction services across North Ayrshire.  The events used a café model to discuss issues and themes pertinent to the group, whereby small groups of 4-6 people sat around café styled tables and discussed a series of questions for 20mins each, moving tables and meeting new people between each question.  

The first meeting ended with the question ‘How would you as a group of people in recovery wish to come together in the future and to what ends?’  Responses have been reported on in a previous summary paper, the main ideas were around being able to offer peer support to each other while developing projects which included a café, a newsletter and community work.  Peer support was felt to be at the foundation of all of these projects and this set the scene for the event on 01/02/13.

While 11 people attended the first event, 16 attended the Next Steps event.  The focus of this event was to map the assets and strengths within the group and to identify areas for development and capacity building.  To this end, the first question posed to the participants was:-

‘What strengths and skills does the group have to help offer effective peer support?’

Answers included:
  • emotional and physical availability   
  • know your limitations
  • trustworthy
  • respectful
  • accepting
  • passion and desire to challenge stigma
  • budgeting skills
  • sense of humour
  • assertiveness
  • listening skills
  • setting boundaries
  • understanding
  • identification

It was acknowledged that the above skills and qualities would assist in providing peer support, and that the shared awareness of these qualities within the group was encouraging.  

Following a refreshment break participants were then invited to consider which of the above, in addition to other areas, would require to be developed to offer effective peer support

‘What areas for development exist to help us offer effective peer support and to move forward?’

  • Drug and alcohol awareness   
  • Budgeting
  • Business development
  • Confidence building
  • Challenging stigma    
  • Qork trials
  • First Aid    
  • Health and Safety    
  • Fire regulations    
  • Environmental Health          
  • Eisk assessments    
  • Computing skills
  • Funding streams
  • Communication and basic counselling skills
  • taster sessions in stress, anxiety management, problem solving, teamwork, relaxation

The areas for development suggested above, combined with others, will go on to inform a peer support training programme.  This reflects an attempt at trying to introduce a level of quality assurance to people involved in peer support.

Participants had fed back at the event on the 14/12/12 that they would like to become involved in more activities to support their recovery and their movement as a recovery community.  

To this end participants at the event on 01/02/13 were presented with options to indicate their interest.  These included: attending a local recovery café, being involved in an upcoming recovery conversations event, sharing their recovery story for a resource which is being developed, attending a peer support group for people affected by Hepatitis C, having an input to the ADP website and attending a relapse prevention group.  Everyone identified that they would like to be involved in at least two things.  At time of writing this summary a sub group (6 people) had visited a local recovery café, 5 had been interviewed to commence a relapse prevention programme, 7 have been nominated to attend the Hep C peer support and 8 have discussed taking an active role at the next recovery conversation event on 01/03/13.      

A member of the Community Learning and Development Team attended the event on the 01/02/13 and welcomed this as a successful exploration of assets and areas for development of the group.  He will look to support the group moving forward both in terms of capacity building and in becoming constituted as a community group, however more work will be undertaken before we reach this stage.

Enthusiasm and motivation among the group is high, tempered with a view that progression will take time.  One of the points of discussion has been how to include more people in recovery.  To this end, North Ayrshire will be holding a Conversations about Recovery event for anyone in the community who identifies themselves as being in recovery.  This event, taking place on 01/03/13, will be an excellent opportunity to help people in recovery get connected to others in recovery and to recruit into the projects people in recovery have identified.  A summary paper of this event will follow in due course.  


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