Jack Keery – Humankind

British Army provides new funding to help soldiers recover from alcohol use and gambling

Jack Keery

Project Reset – a scheme delivered by Humankind to help soldiers in North Yorkshire recover from problematic alcohol use and gambling – has received further funding from the British Army to continue its important work for another year.

The project, formerly named Mil-SMART, was developed by Humankind and Smart Recovery in 2017 to offer support groups for soldiers in Catterick Garrison.

Initially, it was self-funded by Humankind, but its success over the years has proved to the British Army its value to the health and wellbeing of personnel.

Soldiers who require further one-to-one support or medication after accessing Project Reset’s support groups are offered a referral to North Yorkshire Horizons, Humankind’s specialist drug and alcohol recovery service based in the region.

Seventy-nine per cent of serving personnel who accessed support for their alcohol use were successfully discharged as alcohol-free or controlled drinkers, compared to a national average of thirty-eight per cent.

In addition to supporting nearly 100 soldiers to date, Project Reset also offers education outreach and harm reduction training across multiple locations.

Project Reset facilitators, Ruth Hasney and WO2 John Reynolds 4th Brigade, also run a closed Facebook help group and monthly walk and talk events for serving personnel who feel they need extra support after successfully engaging with the scheme.

WO2 John Reynolds, who has previously accessed Project Reset himself, said: “The desire and need for this service continues to grow. We continue to see fantastic outcomes and feedback we have received from soldiers indicates that, without our support, they would have left the army or ended up in trouble due to their problematic substance use or gambling.

“Humankind continues to work with the Armed forces to improve access to specialist support for recovery from alcohol use and gambling, with a vision of rolling the North Yorkshire project out on a larger scale across England.”

The recovery scheme has also garnered praise from the British Army for continuing its support even through the UK’s lockdowns.

Utilising video conferencing for groups and one-to-one support – introduced during the UK’s pandemic lockdown measures but still offered as one part of a holistic support approach – means accessing help is easier for soldiers, particularly when they are away on an exercise or on leave.

This innovation led to further expansion of Project Reset across the North Yorkshire area, with three additional bases, Topcliffe, Dishforth and Alanbrooke, now able to access support for their personnel.

Craig Bosomworth, Project Manager for Project Reset stated: “The work and passion our team of specialist recovery workers puts into this project is fantastic. Without their energy and focus, it would not have supported as many soldiers into recovery.

“The need across the military community has always been there, but now that this project is becoming more embedded within the army and tri services, there is great potential to expand this blueprint much further.”

If serving soldiers want to access support from Project Reset, they can do so by emailing project-reset@humankindcharity.org.uk or speaking to their commanding officer.

Apprentice Success at Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support Service

Jack Keery

Four apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support service based at our Home Intensive Treatment hubs have secured future employment after working with the support service for over a year.

Our Teesside Crisis Peer Support service provides people with additional support if they are accessing the mental health crisis service, working alongside mental health teams, doctors and consultants.

Peer supporters are people who have had lived experience of mental health issues and offer both practical and listening support, as well as the chance to talk to others who may be experiencing similar issues.

The apprentice roles were advertised for people with lived experience of mental health issues, and six apprentices have been in post for over twelve months. Two have now gained employment with the NHS and two have undertaken support roles within Humankind’s Drug & Alcohol services helping dual diagnosis clients, whilst two others are still carrying out their roles as part of the Home Intensive team.

Janet Serginson, Assistant Director for the North East at Humankind and Manager of the service said:

“We’re extremely pleased with the success of the Crisis Peer Support Service and are delighted that four apprentices have secured employment.

We’re hoping to be successful in the future to support Crisis Mental Health Services users with this critical peer programme that has helped to support so many people overcome a difficult time in their lives.”

Meanwhile, five apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support, based in the Home Intensive Treatment hubs, have been recording their experiences in work journals that shed a new light on how they are progressing.

Their diary entries offer an interesting insight into the work they have supported and how it has helped to develop their skills. The peer apprentices have been encouraged by Eileen Greaves of the Teesside Crisis Peer Support to keep reflective journals that comment on their improvement over the time they have learning.

“I’m absolutely delighted that our students have achieved so much,” Janet Serginson continued. “Their sense of enjoyment and achievement really stands out and we’re really happy that the apprentice scheme has provided them all with the foundations to build a rewarding career.”

The apprentice comments can be read below:

I’m now coming near to the end of my apprenticeship and hoping to be in a position as a support worker. I would recommend this apprenticeship to others that have been in my position because, before I started this, I recovered from my mental health a very long journey and had 6 years of believing that I was unemployable – how wrong I was.” – Steven Moolgaoker

The apprenticeship gave me light and hope when I didn’t believe I could make the changes I needed to in my recovery. The apprenticeship has been life changing for me and it has allowed me to overcome so many obstacles I thought I couldn’t.” – Ellie Wallbank

I feel this is only the beginning of my journey and what a fantastic start to have. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity as I had mental ill health and being in my early sixties never thought this opportunity would be open to me, Humankind are an inclusive organisation and have shown me I can achieve my dreams.” Colin Wood

Professionally I have learned so many skills and been responsible for my own work and working alongside professionals I would have never had that opportunity. The opportunities have been incredible but as well as that I have gained a qualification while working my way up into a paid role. Humankind have given me this opportunity and a second chance whilst using my own lived experience.” George Bell

I didn’t think I’d ever work again or be able to hold a job down but each day I’m proving myself wrong and can feel myself continuing to grow as a person.” Callum O ‘Keeffe

The students at the heart of Humankind

Jack Keery

This week marks the 21st Student Volunteering Week and we want to say a big thank you to all the students who donate their time and energy to helping Humankind.

The week, which takes place annually, is an opportunity to celebrate student volunteering and explore how these opportunities can improve students’ wellbeing and allow them the contribute to their community, while also developing their employability.

At Humankind, we are fortunate to have forged student volunteering partnerships across our services, with institutions like the University of Bradford, Leeds Beckett University and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Catherine Casey, a student volunteer at Forward Leeds, said:

“Volunteering with Forward Leeds, for me, was a great way to learn, gain experience and improve my knowledge of drug and alcohol services. It really solidified my interest in working within the field. The experience of volunteering developed my skills so that I had the confidence to apply for full time roles.”

Volunteering opportunities such as Catherine’s are beneficial both for the students who gain valuable new skills and experience, and for Humankind as students bring a diverse set of skills, knowledge and experience to the organisation.

Student volunteers are invaluable to our charity and, this year, they have supported Humankind to carry out research in our addiction services, created content for social media campaigns, facilitated one to one counselling sessions, co-facilitated groups for people accessing our services and arranged activities with our residents.

Roxanne Dodd, a Project Manager & Lead Counsellor at Umbrella Early Intervention & Prevention Support Service in Barnsley, said:

“Having students volunteer within our service has been invaluable. The energy and thirst for learning they bring to the role and team is often infectious and getting to watch them grow within that role is a privilege”.

Vicki, a student volunteer at Umbrella, said:

“I am a counselling student and was keen to do some volunteering with a local mental health agency before beginning placement. I have gained lots of skills, worked with some very experienced and kind people and completed some great training.

I will be beginning my counselling placement at the agency soon and plan to continue volunteering alongside my placement. My aim is to work within community mental health and the values that Humankind have in helping local communities are a big part of why I volunteer with them.”

Humankind’s volunteering team engage with students at university and college events, and all this week they will be out and about promoting volunteering opportunities at a number of events and organisations, such as The Academy: S.P.A.C.E. (Sheffield Psychotherapy and Counselling Education), the University of Leeds, and a student volunteer recruitment fair at Manchester Metropolitan University.

If you are a student and would like to learn more about volunteering opportunities at Humankind, please visit: humankindcharity.org.uk/volunteer

If you would like to have an informal chat about volunteering opportunities at Humankind, you can email volunteering@humankindcharity.org.uk

Written by Ann Hall, Humankind’s Volunteer Development Manager

Darlington’s Independent Living services helped bring Christmas cheer to local families

Jack Keery

An image of an ecstatic child receiving a Christmas present, next to the logos for charities Darlington Independent Living services and Cash for Kids

Humankind’s Darlington Independent Living Services helped to bring some Christmas cheer to local families last year, by distributing Christmas presents that were donated by the Cash For Kids charity.

The services, for people aged 16+, provide support for homelessness, mental health, substance misuse, benefits, temporary accommodation and much more.

Recently, the service helped a family who was evicted just weeks before Christmas. They had managed to secure a new home for themselves and their six children, but with moving costs and new furnishings, there was no money left to buy presents for the children.

Before the family knew that they were going to receive gifts, mum told the children that the new home they would be moving into would be a gift for them all. She also hoped to buy a Christmas tree for the new family home.

But thanks to the support of Cash for Kids and Support for All, the children had some presents to open on Christmas morning.

Temporary Team Accommodation Member, Ginny Dawes, said:

“Mum cried when I explained that we could provide the gifts from Cash For Kids, these presents were really appreciated and the family could not be more grateful. These gifts have ensured that their children would have Christmas presents to open after such a distressing time in their lives. As a staff member, delivering these gifts was heart-warming.

“Being able to access this service means that they can receive good quality presents, and in most cases stops the person from accruing debt or missing important bills. Every child should be able to wake up to at least one present on Christmas morning and cash for kids has made this possible for many of our families.”

Darlington’s Independent Living services include the Positive Support Pathway, Darlington Support for All, Darlington Intensive Mental Health service and Temporary Accommodation service.

You can find more information on the Darlington Independent Living services through the following links:

Read more about Cash For Kids here: cashforkids.org.uk/faqs

Humankind welcomes long overdue investment into drug treatment services

Jack Keery

A blue wall with the words "Humankind- for fair chances" written on it, and an opened door

As one of the largest drug and alcohol charities in England, we welcome the 10-year drug strategy published yesterday which is a significant milestone for the sector and has the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the country. 

The Government noted in their announcement that the £780 million in funding that they have committed will rebuild the sector and that is what we need to do – rebuild. A decade of disinvestment and sporadic funding has decimated drug and alcohol services at a time when demand has increased and the number of people dying has risen by almost 80 per cent. This new strategy will help us get back on our feet but there is a lot of catching up to be done, especially in light of the pandemic which was not factored into the Dame Carol Black Review and has caused disproportionate harm to people who use drugs. 

Humankind is committed to rebuilding services and going further by developing and improving services to expand the evidence base trial new ways of working. In short, we recognise the need to rebuild and improve services and use this new investment to reach more people. 

We greatly welcome the Government’s intention to fast-track funding to the areas of greatest need, including seaside towns and cities in the North of England, where people are far more likely to die as a result of drugs. For too long postcodes and poverty levels have impacted the treatment that someone can receive, and targeted investment will help address this. 

Despite the much-heralded crime and enforcement elements of yesterday’s announcement, this strategy indicates that the Government has begun to recognise that drug use is also a health issue. Drug use is often the result of a toxic combination of poverty, social exclusion, trauma and instability – and incarceration alone is likely to exacerbate rather than cure any of those causes. We strongly support the approach of diverting people from the criminal justice system and into the evidence-based clinical and psychosocial services that have been proven to offer people the best chance of recovery. 

A third of people who use opiates are experiencing housing problems and two-thirds of people who use drugs report having a mental health issue. We are pleased that the Government will be investing in a range of supports that will connect people to a network of expert providers to help people sustain their recovery and is the way we have worked for more than 30 years, providing housing, training and work opportunities, and support for people leaving the prison system, in addition to treatment services. As a leading provider of the Individual and Placement Support employment scheme it is great news that these will be expanded to every local authority. 

While this strategy contains few bold new ideas, it does provide the funding, support and commissioning standards that the sector has been requesting for many years. And, most importantly of all, this strategy will save lives, help people to build resilient futures and ensure the most marginalised members of society get the support they need.  

It is now up to all those working in the sector to use the extra investment to shape and develop service delivery so that we have more impact on more people by expanding the evidence base and the range of services we offer. 

We thank Dame Carol Black for putting forward the recommendations that brought about this strategy, and we are grateful to all our partners in the sector that will join us in implementing it and helping move the sector forward. 

Paul Townsley, CEO of Humankind

Christmas Appeal 2021

Jack Keery

At Humankind, we work every day of the year to support people in crisis, providing healthcare, emergency shelter, food, safety, security, and essential advice. A person in need accesses one of our services every 6 minutes, and Christmas time is no different.

In fact, the festive season is one of the most challenging times for many of the vulnerable people we support, as they cope with poverty, homelessness, loneliness, and isolation.

You can, however, support our vital work by donating to our Christmas appeal, to ensure that we can go the extra mile this winter.

Your donation will go directly towards helping those in need or at risk of harm this Christmas.

Alternatively, you can donate via text message by texting HKXMAS followed by your donation amount (HKXMAS 20, for example, to give £20) to 70450.

Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing about Humankind news in the future via telephone and SMS. If you would like to donate, but do not wish to hear more from us, please text HKXMASNOINFO, followed by your donation amount.

A donation to our Christmas appeal will go directly to help those most in need or at risk of harm. Please note, the following donation guides are intended as examples of our work only, and your donation may also be used in other ways to help the people we support.

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

Thank you for your kindness this Christmas.

Recovery Story: Greg at The Greens (Sheffield Recovery Focused Accommodation)

Jack Keery

Greg, a resident at The Greens, in their garden

Greg is a resident at The Greens, Humankind’s recovery focused accommodation in Sheffield. Before Greg accessed support at The Greens, his alcohol dependency had made him extremely ill. In his own words, he was “close to death”.

Now, Greg is enjoying life and recently even took part in a ‘Way of the Roses’ sponsored bike ride to raise money for us as a charity, to help others access the same support he received. He wanted to tell his story for Alcohol Awareness Week, in the hope that it might inspire others to make a change to their drinking habits.

“I have come a long way with the help of The Greens… My life is changed so much now.”

If you need support for your drug or alcohol use in Sheffield, contact our free and confidential support service.

Recovery Story: Sophie at STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service)

Jack Keery

Sophie at Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service talking about her recovery journey

For Alcohol Awareness Week, we caught up with Sophie, an inspirational young woman who has been supported by Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) for her alcohol dependency.

Her recovery story is one of perseverance, after first accessing support around five years ago. Sophie opens up about how alcohol affected her life, health, and relationships, and how her parents and keyworker at STARS have helped her secure a brighter future.

I don’t think I could do how well I’ve done without my keyworker at STARS. She’s really, really made a difference. It’s so important knowing I can call any time of the day and just let things out… it helps me get through.

If you need help with your drug or alcohol use in Staffordshire, contact our free and confidential support service.

Humankind joins London Winter Walk 2022 – fundraise for us!

Jack Keery

People taking part in the Ultra Challenge's Winter Walk

Humankind is taking part in a fantastic fundraising event to walk off the Christmas celebrations, kick start our New Year fitness regime, and boost our wellbeing.

We will be joining the Ultra Challenge’s Winter Walk half marathon (East Loop) at 10am on Saturday 29th January 2022 – and you can too!

Starting and finishing at The Oval Cricket Ground, the Winter Walk half marathon (East Loop) is a 21km loop past Tower Bridge to Southwark Park, and includes highlights of the Thames, its historic bridges, and many of the Capital’s key landmarks.

Families are welcome. You even get a free winter bobble hat and neck buff, snacks at rest stops, and a special medal and hot food at the finish.

The medal you receive when you complete the Winter Walk, with the finish line in the background.

Join as an individual or as a team, and choose to support Humankind from the list of charities when you sign up for the Winter Walk.

This event is strictly walking only – so no jogging or running is allowed.

SIGN UP & FUNDRAISING OPTIONS:

1. Charity Sponsorship – you pay a small registration fee, do lots of fundraising and we cover the cost of your event place.
Half marathon: Registration fee £7.50 / fundraising target £155

2. Mixed Funding – pay half of the event place cost yourself, fundraise a bit less and we pay the balance of the event place cost.
Half marathon: Registration fee £29.50 / fundraising target £100

3. Self Fund – you pay the full cost of the event place – fundraise whatever you want, with no set target or deadline, and there’s no cost at all to Humankind!
Half marathon: £59 (£44 12-17 year old price)

For full details of prices and to sign up, head to: https://ultrachallenge.com/london-winter-walk

If you prefer to use a paper sponsorship form rather than the Winter Walk’s JustGiving platform, you can download one to print here.

Humankind retains Investing in Volunteers Award

Jack Keery

We are delighted to reveal that Humankind has been successful in retaining our Investing in Volunteers award for a third time.

Humankind first gained the award in 2015 and underwent our second renewal in August 2021, demonstrating our commitment to volunteering as a national charity.

“Supporting volunteers runs throughout all Humankind’s teams, services, and projects, and is embedded in the organisation’s ethos and values.”

Our assessor sought evidence against six quality areas: vision, planning, inclusion, recruitment and induction, support, and valuing and developing volunteers.

Evidence was gathered through a self-assessment, a portfolio and three days of interviews. Twenty-six volunteers shared their experience of volunteering at Humankind.

“I have better support here than all the jobs I’ve ever had, the staff here that go that extra mile – fantastic.” Humankind volunteer 

As an organisation, we take great pride in our Volunteer Programme and our offer to each individual volunteer.

“We are definitely made to feel part of the team, all the staff and all the volunteers are great, it feels like I’m part of a really big, happy family.” – Humankind volunteer

As Humankind have invested in support for people’s wellbeing, we have done the same for volunteers. This was recognised during the assessment, which stated:

“There is recognition that the continuous support volunteers enjoy has a huge positive impact on the recruitment of volunteers, their wellbeing, their personal development, retention of volunteers, and their feeling of being valued.”

We want to give a huge thank you to our Volunteer Coordinators, Leads and Supervisors for delivering an award winning Volunteer Programme!

Humankind’s 2020/21 Volunteer Programme at a glance:

• We appointed 97 new volunteers.
• Our volunteers have kindly given 10,604 hours of their own time to support others – that’s 209 hours every week of the year!
• 17 of our volunteer leavers left to enter education, training or employment.
• 7 (41%) of those who entered employment accepted roles within Humankind services.

Read more in our 2020/21 Impact Report.