People who are recovering from a substance misuse addiction are set to benefit from a specialist programme to help them to find sustained employment.
The County Council has been successful in securing £143,000 a year until March 2023 from Public Health England and the Department of Work and Pensions for the Individual Placement and Support Programme.
The scheme works by integrating an employment specialist into the multi-disciplinary team who works with clients as part of their clinical treatment. The programme will also work with employment networks and local businesses to find suitable job opportunities for people who are recovering from substance misuse, as well as offering employers and employees ongoing support to ensure the success of those placements.
Councillor Boyd Elliott, Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “This approach makes employment a key aim of the recovery process. By having a job and a purpose, people are more likely to continue positively on their recovery journey.
“The programme also puts a strong focus on sourcing jobs through local employer networks and providing support to employers by offering ongoing in-work support for those who are taking part. We believe this will offer an excellent opportunity to Nottinghamshire businesses to find some real talent and also give people who want to work a second chance at life.”
Nottinghamshire County Council commissions Change Grow Live (CGL), as the provider of the Nottinghamshire All Age Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery Service. The additional funding will be added to the contract already in place with CGL.
51 year old Richard Coyle from Mansfield left school at 15 in the late 1980s when there weren’t many job prospects. He did some work with his dad, who was an open cast miner, but drifted into drink and drugs. When his dad passed away one Christmas, it took Richard a long time to come to terms with it.
“I was very upset and blamed a lot of people. I swore I would never work again – I was so angry. I was already using but I chucked myself into hard drugs after that. I went to prison several times.
“About 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to get out of that life. I moved onto scripts – a substitute for heroin.
“Then two years ago, I met a community teacher from West Notts College and she taught me to look at the world in a more positive way. I started to get some hope and think about what I could offer now. A worker suggested I apply for a volunteering job at CGL. I didn’t think they’d want me!”
Richard began volunteering with CGL. He started off chatting with clients, then worked on reception. He has also spoken at volunteering groups about his experiences of substance misuse recovery. After almost two years volunteering, Richard applied for paid employment with CGL and was successful. He started his job as receptionist at the Mansfield office three weeks ago – his first job in 30 years.
“CGL have been really supportive. They had my back and that kept me going. I enjoyed the work and working with my old associates. Some of them found it strange that I was working on the other side now.
“I thought it would just be another failure like everything else. But after a year, I managed it. I’m off my script and spent my first Christmas, last Christmas, without any substances. I needed to find another reason to keep doing what I’m doing. That other reason was to get a job, so I applied for employment at CGL and was successful. I’m now in my third week of paid employment.
“Everybody comments on the difference this has made – my family and friends. They say I’m more positive about life and not as cynical. I care more about how people feel now. I’m very mindful and aware of what an impact I can have on other people.”