Helen Deeson – Page 2 – Humankind

Christmas Appeal

Helen Deeson

It has been a difficult year for us all and Christmas is likely to be different for everyone this year.  Sadly the festive season is one of the most challenging times for many of the people we support as they experience poverty, homelessness, loneliness, isolation and risk.  At Humankind we will be working throughout Christmas, as we do every day of the year, to ensure that we support people in crisis, provide emergency shelter, food, safety and essential advice. 

You can help support our vital work by donating to our Christmas appeal. Please visit https://www.justgiving.com/HumankindCharity. Your donation will go directly towards helping those in need or at risk of harm this Christmas. 

You can also donate by text: Please text the amount you wish to donate (up to £20) e.g. To donate £10 Text HKXMAS 10 to 70085. Texts cost donation amount plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS.  

If you’d like to donate £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text HKXMASNOINFO 10 to 70085. 

A donation to our Christmas appeal will go directly to help those most in need or at risk from harm. 

  • £10 will allow us to provide a pack of essential items, including personal hygiene and sanitary products,  to a street sleeper 
  • £20 could contribute towards our national service user fund, providing emergency funding for people in extreme hardship 
  • £50 will support us to transform Christmas for a family in poverty providing basic food and shelter 


Welcome to our new website

Helen Deeson

We are excited to launch our new, easier to use, website.

We wanted to make the new website easier to use for everyone, but most of all for the people who use our services.

Karen Tyrell, Executive Director of Strategy, Culture & External Affairs, said: “The most important thing for us is to be able to offer a quick and easy way for people to get to the information they need. We wanted to speak directly to people who are looking for support.”

The charity, with web developers Roundtable Studio, ran online meetings with people who use different Humankind services, to hear their views on what they thought worked best.

Karen said: “I’d like to thank all the people who use our services who gave up their time to help us develop this website.

“We got strong feedback on how people would want to use the new website, what kind of imagery was most inclusive, what information they needed and the language we needed to use.

“We’re really proud of what we have achieved by working together.”

The site will further develop over the coming weeks and months to make it a really useful tool for people looking for support. ​​​​​​​

Latest ONS figures show drug related deaths have risen to record levels

Helen Deeson

The latest drug related deaths figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales have reported an increase in drug related deaths in 2019.

Some key figures from the data show:

  • there were 4,393 deaths related to drug poisoning registered in 2019. This is an increase on the 4,359 deaths registered in 2018 and the highest number of deaths since recording began in 1993.
  • rates are five and a half times higher for people living in deprived areas
  • the North East has a significantly higher rate of deaths relating to drug misuse than all other English regions
  • deaths involving cocaine increased for the eighth successive year – including a 26.5% increase for female deaths on the previous year

Karen Tyrell, Executive Director at Humankind, said: “Sadly, year on year we are seeing an increase in drug related deaths and every single one has a huge impact on families and friends. Our thoughts go out to the thousands of people that have lost someone in these tragic circumstances.

“There is still a huge amount of stigma for people that use drugs but we must remember that behind each of these numbers are individuals who have often been through traumatic events and are in desperate need of support to help them deal with that.

“Every death is preventable and we believe there must be a step change to better support vulnerable people.  The fact that drug related death figures are highest in the North East, one of the most deprived areas in England, is not surprising. The use of drugs is often related to people’s circumstances and interlinked with housing, employment and mental health.

“Drug and alcohol treatment services are operating under immense pressure as funding continues to reduce but the Dame Carol Black review and lock down provide us with an opportunity for change.

“If you need drug and alcohol services, please do reach out. We’ll be there to help.”

Our Impact

Helen Deeson

The 2019/20 Humankind Impact Report, which is released today, has highlighted how Humankind services are creating fairer chances for more people than ever with over 76,000 people supported across the county last year. Read the full report here.

Humankind Chief Executive, Paul Townsley, said: “I am extremely proud of everything that has been achieved this year and want to thank our Trustees, staff and volunteers for their support and dedication to people who use our services. We were delighted to achieve the Investors in People Gold award which is a credit to our workforce.

“We have grown considerably in the last year and delighted to welcome services in London and EDP in the South West to Humankind. Partnerships are incredibly important and we will continue to work collaboratively with other regional partners so that our services can offer tailored approaches to the different places we work in.”

The charity, which has 1,200 staff and around 100 volunteers nationally, works alongside its many partner organisations to provide integrated services. Our key success this year include;

  • Achieving the Investors in People Gold Award
  • Our volunteers have kindly given 20,963 hours of their own time to support others and 45 of our volunteer leavers left due to gaining employment.
  • We supported 1701 individuals within our work and skills services.
  • Every day 2 people are housed by our housing services – that’s 14 per week or 61 per month.
  • Our independent living services supported 3228 people.

It has embedded its stated values of being honest, committed and inventive. It also has a programme of working together with people who use its services to continually improve its impact.

New service provides human support for people who need urgent mental health care

Helen Deeson

Our Humankind charity is to provide specialist mentoring support to people on Teesside who need urgent mental health care.

A new Teesside Peer Support Service will work closely with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust Teesside Crisis Resolution, inpatient and Community Intensive Home Treatment Teams.

The new service will include opportunities for six new Peer Support Worker apprentices who have real, lived experience of crisis and mental health services.

Christine Ormerod, the Humankind charity’s Assistant Director North East, said: “Peer Mentoring is a form of support between people who have had experiences of similar issues.”

She explained people receiving the support found it helpful to talk to someone who had been in their position and could relate in some way to how they feel and what they are going through.

“This new team of peers will work with patients while they are in TEWV care but also, after they’ve been discharged and are back in the community. The idea would be to help patients rebuild their lives.

Christine said: “We fully believe in the value of mentoring, peer support. It means people in crisis will be able to make a human connection with people who’ve had similar experiences and have recovered. There’s lots of evidence to show this is really therapeutic – it gives people in crisis hope for the future.”

The peer mentors will work alongside doctors, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, support workers. Their mentoring will be coordinated and supported by a Humankind project manager and a Peer Mentor and Volunteer Lead Practitioner.

Christine said: “We see this model of peer mentor care also having real benefit for the peer mentors themselves, supporting people to progress, providing real opportunities in a supportive environment within a caring organisation, apprentices will also have a college study day each week for their qualification. We value lived experience highly and this service complements Humankind’s existing peer support provision.”

The new service comes after the charity successfully tendered for two contracts to deliver the support.

Humankind-led Forward Leeds drug and alcohol service marks five years

Helen Deeson

The Humankind-led Forward Leeds alcohol and drug service, is marking five years of successes in July 2020.

The milestone comes as the service is maintaining its work through the coronavirus lockdown. And it follows the 2019/20 period in which 2,000 people with alcohol issues were supported – as many people as are seen in Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester by equivalent local services put together.

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults at Leeds City Council said: “Having been in operation in the city for half a decade, Forward Leeds continues to make a massive positive impact on the lives of thousands of individuals and families affected by drug and alcohol use. Offering information, advice and support to anyone who needs it, the service has continued to improve.

“The way it quickly and effectively adapted, and continued to take referrals, during the Covid-19 pandemic, is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of its staff.”

Lee Wilson, Humankind Operations Director for Leeds, said: “We have had an amazing five years at Forward Leeds.

“The service has just had its best ever year and this is down to the hard work of our staff.

“The first thing we did in lockdown was to individually call all 3,300 of our current clients to check on how they were doing. “We’ve been continuing to work with clients throughout lockdown, over the phone and online and we’ve just started to have people back into our hubs again so we can see them face-to-face.”

Last year’s strongest ever performance saw 1,543 people exit the service having achieved their goals, which usually means abstinence from alcohol and or drugs. This was 145 more than any previous year.

The service is made up of a partnership of organisations, including Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, BARCA-Leeds and St Anne’s Community Services but led by Humankind. Since it began in July 2015, 12,000 people have been referred into the service.

Lee said: “That is the equivalent of one in every fifty adults in Leeds being helped in some way by Forward Leeds during in the last five years. The positive impact on family and friends is immeasurable.

Last year, the service was awarded a three year extension to its contract by Leeds City Council, to run until July 2023.

Humankind Chief Executive Officer Paul Townsley said: “It’s a fantastic service and what I’m proudest of is that it delivers a range of services, to a massive population, with a lot of people successfully coming out of treatment as well. I think it’s the best model in the country for partnership working in a large city.”

British army backs pilot scheme to support soldiers with alcohol and gambling issues

Helen Deeson

A pilot scheme to help soldiers at Catterick Garrison recover from alcohol and gambling addictions has now been funded for two years by the army and could be extended to cover other military bases across the UK.

The Humankind charity launched the UK’s first Mil-SMART recovery programme in 2017, specifically aimed at helping serving soldiers.

Experts from the charity’s North Yorkshire Horizons’ drug and alcohol service working in partnership with addiction recovery programme SMART have since successfully offered specialist sessions at Catterick Garrison to help scores of personnel.

Now, the Mil-SMART scheme, previously funded by the charity, has won two years’ funding from the British Army to continue its good work, while also considering extending to four other bases throughout the UK.

Project manager for Humankind Craig Bosomworth said: “We are delighted that this project has been recognised by the British Army, and now we have secured funding for two years it will mean we can go on offering this valuable and well attended resource.

“Over the last two years it has gone from strength to strength with many soldiers accessing it and finding the group valuable.

“With the garrison being so large it is easy for soldiers to become isolated with their issues. This mutual-aid forum offers a chance for everyone to share similar problems and together find solutions that support them back into recovery.

Dave Hasney, National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery said: “For various reasons, serving military personnel are often reluctant to seek help with their addictive behaviours. This led us to design and develop the Mil-SMART resource, in partnership with the Humankind team. The increasing positive outcomes have been amazing.”

During the coronavirus lockdown soldiers have continued to participate in groups which have moved to online conferencing platform, Zoom.

Catterick Garrison is the largest garrison in the UK with over 11,000 serving soldiers and 15 different regiments.

Major Corrina Priest, stated: “The work that has been undertaken by Humankind and UK Smart Recovery has been amazing, it is extremely important that mental health and addiction issues are openly discussed and there are the appropriate services to offer soldiers support.

“We are currently working hard to make sure soldiers on the Garrison are aware of this resource and promoting its value across different command chains.”

Any serving soldier that would like to access the support group can go to www.smartrecovery.org.uk/meetings or contact Humankind on 01609710770

We thank our fantastic volunteers

Helen Deeson

The Chief Executive Officer of Humankind, Paul Townsley, has spoken of how grateful he is to the charity’s dedicated volunteers for the work they do.

Marking the start of Volunteers’ Week 2020, Paul said: “I want to thank everybody for all the volunteering that they have done in the last year, and the volunteer hours that people have committed to our organisation.

“I have incredible gratitude for the volunteers we have at Humankind whether that be at Trustee level, in services, working directly with our service users and clients, or in administrative roles helping us deliver the services we provide.”

This week, those working with volunteers across the UK are coming together to say a massive thank you to all volunteers.

Organisations across the UK are showcasing the amazing contribution volunteers have made. We will be recognising the support given to Humankind by our volunteers through a series of social media posts and videos.

Volunteer Coordinator for South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service, Paul Booth (pictured with Lesley at last year’s event), said: “Being a previous volunteer with Humankind, it’s really nice for me to be involved in the Volunteer process at South Tyneside supporting volunteers to reach their full potential & goals which can include finding employment with us.

“Both staff and service users alike can find inspiration from volunteers giving their time freely to support others making a positive change in their lives.”

Between April 2019 and April 2020, our charity had an average of 102 volunteers at any one time. Those volunteers gave 20,963 hours of service, supporting us to achieve our Mission, Vision and Values.

Volunteer Development Manager, Ann Hall, said the organisation welcomed 130 new volunteers during that period and said farewell to 61. A total of 36 moved into employment, training or education, including 15 who got a job with Humankind.

“Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing concerns, our volunteer activity has reduced. However, we are now in a position to speak with our services, volunteer coordinators and leads on how to safely reintroduce volunteers across the organisation.”

Ann added: “I am extremely proud of all of our volunteers and am constantly in awe of the impact they have. Each and every one of them brings something unique to Humankind. I am honoured and grateful that so many people chose to volunteer with us”.

Please follow our Twitter account @Humankind_vol https://twitter.com/Humankind_vol during Volunteers’ Week to see all of our thank you messages.

WYFI Project has transformed hundreds of lives across West Yorkshire

Helen Deeson

A National Lottery funded project which aims to help people facing issues of homelessness, addiction, reoffending and mental health across the West Yorkshire area, has had a “transformational impact”, a final study on its work has found.

Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), found that the West Yorkshire – Finding Independence project (WY-FI) “has played a vital role in helping people with complex needs access support”.

Assessing the impact on over 800 individuals, CRESR’s final evaluation of the main, six year project, stated: “The project has had a transformational impact on the lives of many men and women across West Yorkshire.”

It stated: “All interviewees reported that their lives had improved, sometimes significantly, since working with the project.

The process of positive change was largely ascribed to the relationship established with WY-FI’s Multiple Needs Navigators which was instrumental in facilitating improvements or stability in beneficiaries’ lives. Many described an improved sense of well-being derived from having somebody in their lives that they could access when they needed support, could rely on and who ‘cared’.

Sue Northcott, WY-FI Programme Manager, said: “Our work has been incredibly rewarding and we have learnt so much from our beneficiaries.

“Finding the right help when experiencing any one of these multiple needs can be difficult. WY-FI is about making sure the right kind of help is available for people when they need it, so supporting them to live a more fulfilling life.”

The service, which is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund Fulfilling Lives programme, supported a total of 823 people in West Yorkshire between 2014 and 2020.

WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigators helped them engage and re-engage with local services related to their needs. These included drug and alcohol services such as Forward Leeds and Calderdale Recovery Steps.

The workers also liaised with local authority housing services and probation, GP surgeries and mental health services.

Sue said: “WY-FI, alongside all 12 of the Fulfilling Lives projects, has been committed to making sure the right kind of help is available for people when they need it, supporting them to live a more fulfilling life”.

The WY-FI project, now in its seventh and final year of activity, now has a renewed focus on system change across West Yorkshire to ensure effective, ongoing support for people with multiple needs.

we are all humankind

Helen Deeson

Our staff have made a film to let the people who use our services know that we are still here and still open. We hope you enjoy it!