Co-Production Real Lives

Cheshire Recovery Services: Working together for practical outcomes

Cheshire Recovery Service, Co-production garden team

Co-production is central to the running of Adullam’s Cheshire Recovery Service, and to its success.

The project operates at several sites in Congleton including Beech House. It provides accommodation for people who have completed a detoxification from drugs and/or alcohol and require tenancy support to complete their return to independent living.

Residents are involved in every aspect of the service, from reviewing policies, through running a drug testing panel, to raising funds for wellbeing activities.

Adullam recognises the importance of making involvement on-going, and not a series of stop-start projects. Activities are designed to be sustainable, to deliver practical outcomes, and to add value to the service as a whole.

A good example is an initiative that has seen staff and residents at Beech House work together to clear out unwanted or disused items. They have created a stall area on site, where donated and handmade items are on display where anyone who so wishes can make a small donation for any of the goods on offer. To date this initiative has raised more than £529.

The money raised is going towards supporting wellbeing initiatives on site, one of which is purchasing bicycles for residents. This is helping keep them active, providing them with a means of transport, and, of course, giving them an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that Congleton has to offer.

Alongside this, a workshop has been set up on site where residents can learn to repair and maintain the bikes. Use of the bikes and their care are ongoing activities.

The degree to which residents engage, get involved and co-produce is entirely up to them. We have listened to them to help us get this message across to tenants, residents and service users throughout our projects. As a result we have created an easy-read version of our Co-production, Involvement and Engagement Strategy, and a visual roadmap showing ways to get involved.

This service has made differences both to how Adullam operates addiction recovery services and equally importantly to the lives of numerous individuals.

For residents, it has helped them develop new skills and in many cases to identify potential career pathways. For those receiving support, it gives reassurance that those helping to provide that support understand their situation. It also shows them that success is achievable, the peers serve as role models.

Peers offer one-to-one support for their fellow residents seeking to stay away from their former addictions, and they also run mutual aid groups, including Narcotics Anonymous and Eating Disorders Anonymous. These are open to wider members of the public.

This creates positive ownership of recovery and ensures a platform of ongoing support is available when someone has a dip.

Former residents have gone on to work in professional recovery roles as well as volunteering at local drug and alcohol services and women’s refuges. One became a world champion kickboxer but continues to work supporting people in recovery at another homeless service.

The success of an open day held at Beech House this year in which residents played a significant part has led to the decision to repeat it, both at Beech House and out in the community.

The event gave visitors, who included commissioners, members of rough sleeper teams and from mental health organisations, a chance to hear the voices of those often unheard. For the residents it provided a chance to develop skills and boost self-confidence. Its success has led to the decision to repeat it at other venues and thereby extend the outcomes.

The success of the Cheshire Recovery Service is very much a result of co-production at its best.

Kirsty

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