David Lupton – Humankind

New Community hub for prison-leavers launches in Durham

David Lupton

A new hub aimed at helping people leaving prison to re-integrate into the community has been launched in Durham.

The RECONNECT Hub, the facility on Old Elvet, is the first of its kind and provides people with a safe and accessible place to get support with their health and wellbeing needs after release from prison.

People using the hub can use the hub to make calls, attend initial appointments on release day, get help with practical needs such as charging phones / electronics and pick up forms and paperwork to help them engage with follow-on support. In just six months, the Hub has already provided a space for multiple community groups including Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholic Anonymous and housing provider drop-ins.

The Rt Hon Lord Bradley PC (a life peer and former Minister of State for Prisons) opened the hub. He said : “I’m delighted to be officially opening the RECONNECT hub, an important facility which has the potential to make a real difference in the North East and help people who are leaving custody to make a fresh start. By making it easier to access health services and support after prison, we are reducing the risk of reoffending and helping to build safer, healthier communities for everyone.”

Paul Townsley, Chief Executive of Humankind, said: “Humankind is delighted to be part of the ground-breaking Reconnected to Health partnership. The Hub could only have been created and have already seen such impact through the ongoing collaboration between this wide range of partners and stakeholders.”

The hub will be a key point of access for people leaving HMP Durham and other local prisons. The RECONNECT Hub also offers a safe space in the centre to local agencies, welcoming everyone from housing providers to employment agencies, volunteering organisations, mental health charities, social care and drug and alcohol treatment providers.

The Hub is part of a wider RECONNECT service in the North East, one of several care after custody services commissioned nationally by NHS England. The purpose of RECONNECT is to support prison-leavers in staying connected to key health services after their release from prison, in the hope that this will improve their long-term health outcomes and reduce the risk of reoffending.

The Reconnected to Health partnership also includes Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, Humankind, and Rethink.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

David Lupton

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place on 10th-16th May 2021 and this year’s theme is nature.

Mental Health Awareness Week is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it.  For this year’s theme, nature, Humankind is highlighting services that have engaged with nature to help the mental health of people who use them. Look out for daily stories from services across the country.

Research has shown that being in nature has been one of the most popular ways the public have tried to sustain good mental health at a challenging time.

During this week try to make a habit of connecting to the nature every day. Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.

Follow the campaign on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and tag us share with us how nature helps your mental health @Humankind_UK

New Young People’s Drug & Alcohol Service for North Yorkshire

David Lupton

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A new service to provide support for young people with drug or alcohol issues is set to be launched across North Yorkshire.

The service, commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council and delivered by national charity Humankind, is aimed at reaching young people aged 18 and under (and 19 – 24 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) who need support around drugs and alcohol.

Damien Frain, Young Peoples and Families Manager at Humankind said: “It’s great news that North Yorkshire County Council has committed to invest in a high quality young people’s support service.

“We look forward to delivering this service to ensure that young people across North Yorkshire have access to help and advice around drugs, alcohol and associated support needs. We will work closely with the adult North Yorkshire Horizons service to ensure seamless links for pathways into treatment when they reach 18 years of age where appropriate.

“We’re committed to helping young people get the right kind of support as and when they need it, and we’re grateful for the support North Yorkshire County Council has shown in backing this new project.”

Angela Hall, Manager for Drug and Alcohol Services at North Yorkshire County Council said: “Humankind is the current provider of Substance Misuse Services for adults, meaning that there will now be a single provider for substance misuse services across the county  for adults and young people. This creates significant opportunities for more enhanced joined up working.”

“Humankind has a strong reputation in successfully delivering support services for children, young people and families, and will bring their experience on this to North Yorkshire. We will work with Humankind and other local services to ensure that young people in North Yorkshire have access to the help and support they need, to help minimise the impact of drug and alcohol misuse on their health and wellbeing and life chances”.

For more information on the new Young People’s Service, or to access support, please head to our NY Rise service page here: humankindcharity.org.uk/service/nyrise/

Celebrating International Women’s Day

David Lupton

International Women’s Day 2021

#ChooseToChallenge  #IWD2021

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

Humankind’s work towards equality

We believe that a strong organisation is diverse in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability and ethnicity.

We invest in training, consult with communities and people who use our services and constantly review our creative approach to ensure diversity and equality is a part everything we do. However, we know that good intentions are not enough and that there’s always more work to be done.

Caroline Gitsham,  Trustee at Humankind said: “I am delighted to recognise and celebrate IWD 2021 #ChooseToChallenge. Our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion continues to evolve and is at the heart of enabling a sustainable future for Humankind.”

Our current proportion of female employees is 72% and male employees 28%, having changed by 1% year on year since our first gender pay gap report in 2017. Our last gender pay gap in 2018 showed that our pay gap is 2.91% against the UK national average of 9.10%, and we continue to aim to achieve parity as soon as possible. The 5-year strategy for Humankind strives to address this within its organisational remuneration strategy and aspires to reduce the gap year on year.

We have many successful and inspiring women at Humankind and here are a few of their stories to celebrate International Women’s Day.


My journey to the S.T.A.R.S

During my long history of addiction and alcohol dependency people had often written me off, seeing the addict and not the human being that stood in front of them. However, the guys at South Tyneside Adult Recovery Services didn’t see the addict, they saw me for me, they helped me to believe in myself and realise the true potential I had.

I started off volunteering which strengthened not only my confidence but also my recovery and enabled me to land a job as a receptionist, before securing a role as a recovery worker.

Over the next few months I worked hard, not only at my job but also learning how to live as a single parent with three kids. Later I secured another role as the complex needs worker, moved to a fabulous new house and continued to grow into the strong, independent woman I am proud of today.

I have two daughters who were also recovering from my addictions and were deeply affected but as women we fought hard together and today one is busy completing a Masters in history and the other is pursuing her A levels.

My story is far from over. I am due to start a new job within the alcohol care team and working for the NHS has been a dream of mine for years, so, I guess I’m saying don’t give up on yourself no matter where you are in life keep trying and who knows it might just turn out exactly as you hoped.


Emma Cormack shares her experience of progressing at Stafforshire

My journey in the substance misuse sector began in 2014 when studying for a degree in Drug and Alcohol Counselling and Treatment. I found I had developed a great academic knowledge however required practical experience in order to really develop my understanding. I began volunteering in 2015 and was able to get first-hand experience at both facilitating group workshops and 1:1 Psychosocial Intervention Sessions.

Moving into paid employment, I facilitated an outreach project specifically working with clients who were presenting with dual diagnosis, then developed another project working with clients who were alcohol dependant and had a housing need. Both projects were extremely dynamic and gave me the opportunity to work with a large client group as well a really embedding the importance of multi-agency working.

I currently hold the position of Service Manager at Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service and I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have built a career in an area that I am extremely passionate about and to have a job which I continue to love every day.


Lesley shares her personal experience of battling alcohol addiction

Lesley said: “My battle with alcohol started in 2013 when my drinking spiraled out of control. Prior to this I had enjoyed drinking socially, and never thought I would ever become addicted to alcohol.

“I was really ill and during my battle with alcoholism I was hospitalised four times. This finally made me realise I had an alcohol problem and was my first step on the road to recovery. I was referred to South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service who put me on an alcohol reduction plan. With their support and guidance I reduced my alcohol intake until I no longer needed it. It was the toughest but best thing I have ever done.

 “I began volunteering at the service and absolutely loved it, then was offered a part-time job as a bank worker supporting people with their recovery. I’m living proof that no matter how long you have been relying on alcohol and how severe your problem actually is, it is possible to recover, beat alcoholism and succeed.”



In 2004 at the age of 24 I began my journey as an accounts assistant with Humankind. With a finance team of seven, annual turnover of £8.3m and total staff of 234, we were smaller organisation than now, that meant for a number of years I organised a Christmas party for the whole outfit!

I quickly progressed in the finance team, working as finance officer for a number of units until I was promoted to finance team leader. Once becoming team leader my passion for the team and ensuring we offered the best service evolved. On International Women’s Day I’d like to give a big shout out to my manager Camila Horner. Camila inspired and supported me, building my confidence to believe in myself, which allowed me to develop and progress to manager through to my current role of assistant director of finance.

I’ve seen many changes and challenges during my time with Humankind and it hasn’t always been easy, but I love my job and when I talk about Humankind I feel passionate and proud of the organisation, the work we do and the finance team.

Outside of Humankind my passions are keeping active and fit and my 12 year old son Christopher and cocker spaniel Angel keep me busy and on my toes!

Green shoots for Recovery

David Lupton

The Greens, a Humankind recovery centre located in Sheffield, is seeking horticultural support for a new mindfulness garden that is currently under construction.

The centre provides recovery focused accommodation for people who are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

During the recent lockdown, residents came up with a highly ambitious plan to redesign the garden, providing a space for mindfulness and relaxation, and a large seating area for group and keywork sessions in the summer months. So far, residents have relayed turf, rebuilt the pathway and dug a pond. Meanwhile, research is underway as to which plants, vegetables and fruit trees thrive best in the new garden. The work has been supported by a grant from SOAR, and with a pledge of support from South Yorkshire Housing Association, alongside a generous discount offer from Wickes.

The residents have issued a plea for further local support to allow them to install artificial grass, more planting and garden furniture, which will help make the space a relaxing place to unwind and boost wellbeing.

Louise Morley, Project Manager at The Greens said: “What the residents have achieved so far is amazing. They’ve really taken the garden project to their hearts, and even though it’s been a pretty miserable winter, they have been working hard on the garden development.

“The mindfulness garden project will provide an area for planting, many residents have never had a garden before and the chance to grow their own herbs and veg. Growing plants you can eat is a magical process and this will enhance their experience at The Greens.

“We’re now looking for further support from anyone who can help, to enable the garden to develop to its full potential.”

Ed, a resident at The Greens said: “The staff here have all been brilliant. Since I’ve come here, I’ve been able to talk to the staff about anything, how I’m feeling, if I’m struggling or whatever it is.

“This garden project has helped me massively. My mate Lee has got me up and out every day, helping dig out the pond, starting on the path. It gives me something positive to do and focus on and there’s always someone to talk to out there.”

If you can offer support in any form, whether financial, materials or expertise, please contact Louise Morley at The Greens on thegreens@humankindcharity.org.uk.