Forward Leeds

Forward Leeds is an alcohol and drugs service for adults, young people, families and professionals working with drug and alcohol services. There are three main centres across the city of Leeds for those needing help with substance use (drugs and alcohol). There is also the ‘5Ways’ centre for those in recovery

On a rather rainy November day, Julie and I visited the Armley Hub to meet Mark – Marketing and Communication Officer. We were particularly interested in finding out about the local services provided by Forward Leeds and hopefully forging connections with them for our future work with Help for Dependency.

Forward Leeds offers a complete wrap-around service for their clients’ including:

  • a call centre that offers advice and signposts to those in need directing them to the correct help and services – 0113 887 2477
  • an online referral form to refer yourself or someone else into the service

Over 18’s Referral Form

Under 18’s Referral

Services include:

  • qualified drugs and alcohol workers
  • provision of specialist assessment and intervention for individuals with alcohol and/or drug problems and those who have complex needs such as an underlying mental health issues
  • counselling services on a one-to-one basis and also group-based therapies
  • a medical centre that caters for the health and well-being of people entering any of their programs operated by trained medical staff and practitioners
  • outreach provision
  • support for families
  • needle exchange advice and guidance on safer injecting, as well as providing clean equipment and can be found at various locations around the city and outlying areas (follow link at the beginning of this article to Forward Leeds website for their locations)
  • General Practices (GPs) – Forward Leeds work in partnership with a number of GP practices and health centres across the city, making services more accessible for people with issues. (follow the link at the beginning of this article to find out more).

Within the Armley Hub there is also a full program of activities and groups that clients can attend. These are primarily focused on providing help and support to those trying to combat dependency and/or addiction and enter recovery (the other Hubs offer the same if not similar programs too).

Taking Control – a focused and goal-oriented group to help clients reduce alcohol use. It encourages individuals to work towards their personal goals, support each other to find practical solutions to problems, celebrate their success and put set-back into perspective

Surf the Urge – specifically aimed to help clients on opiate replacement therapies who struggle with the occasional urge to use.

SMART Recovery – this helps those individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviours to gain independence, achieve recovery and lead a more meaningful and satisfying life. It’s a secular (not connected to religious or spiritual matters) and science – based concept which uses motivational, cognitive and behavioural methodology.

Mind your Head – a course based over six sessions that helps an individual to become more ‘mindful’. It helps individuals to focus on the present moment and the world around them which in turn helps to improve mental health by not being distracted by thoughts focused in the past or switching to ‘automatic pilot’ because that’s in a person’s comfort zone.

SNAP – a confidential drop-in clinic that provides free advice/information from a health professional on sports performance and nutrition. Advice is also given to those using performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED’s) such as anabolic steroids.

Relationships and Recovery – this is a 15-week closed group course. It assists those attending to develop skills and awareness that will promote better, healthier and safer relationships with their partners, friends, family and children.

Get Up and Go – a group that motivates individuals to become active rather than sitting in front of the TV!

Rehab Prep – a closed group that provides information and support for individuals who have decided to access residential rehab.

Preparing to Detox from Opiates – a single group session that explores why withdrawals happen and how they can be controlled. It provides an honest look at the pros and cons of each method and highlights preparations that individuals can make to avoid relapse and support their long term recovery.

Which Way Now? – for those who have made big changes to their alcohol and drug use but are unsure of their next step. A three month course that looks at all aspects of recovery and help that’s available to get an individual to where they want to be (5WAYS Hub only).

The above is just an overview of a lot of information that Mark imparted to us and the tour of the facility at Armley. To say the least, it’s a comprehensive and extensive service that serves those individuals in need of help in the Leeds area. The diversity and breadth that the service covers are breathtaking.

Forward Leeds is very much in its infancy and is a credit to those who invest time in delivering the help and support so needed for those suffering with substance use disorders, especially drug and alcohol use. Help for Dependency will definitely be staying in touch and hopefully working with Forward Leeds in the future.

It would be great to see this level of service replicated throughout the UK.

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