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Online conference to focus on ‘levelling up’

Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service is this week sponsoring an online national discussion to examine ways of giving more say to grass roots organisations that play a crucial role in supporting those recovering from an addiction.

Organised by the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations (LEROs) – of which Aspire is a strategic member – the event on Thursday 16 September, 2021 will discuss how the treatment landscape can be levelled up  to give community-based LEROs parity of esteem with the traditional providers.

Aspire Manager Stuart Green said: “Listening to the voices of people with lived experience of recovering from drug and alcohol problems is imperative, but sadly they are often drowned out by the ‘noise’ of the treatment ‘system’ and institutional issues like contracts, policies, national reports and organisational imperatives.

“It’s easy to forget that treatment and recovery is about people and their on-going quality of life, which is the important stuff that often LEROs work on and makes a massive contribution to changing lives for the better.

“The treatment sector needs to engage and work closer with LEROs and we’ll be putting the proposition of ‘levelling up’ under the spotlight as part of our discussions.

“It’s a bit like a three lane swimming pool – the first lane is what people can do for themselves, the second is what they can do with support from each other, and the third is for people who need specialist help from services. People often end up in the wrong lane, usually the third lane by default, when lanes one and two are really important”

Thursday’s ‘think-tank’ will run from 12 noon to 2.30pm and will be chaired by Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development, Europe’s leading Asset Based Community Development organisation.

“In the past a lot of community-based programmes have failed because they focused on bringing resources in rather than harnessing the assets that were already there. Asset Based Community Development is all about identifying the human and other capital that exists within individuals and communities and successfully utilising it to shape the lives the people living there want to lead, added Stuart.

“Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs: prevention, treatment and recovery, published in July this year, presents an opportunity to have a fresh look at how we provide care in this sector and we hope our discussions will  contribute to LEROs having a greater role to play than they currently do.”

Formed 18 months ago, some 40 community organisations – LEROs –   from across the UK have now joined the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations, which Aspire supports at a strategic national and local level.