Durham – Humankind

Reconnected to Health awarded Best Use of Workplace Technology at Nursing Times Awards

Jasmine Rocks

We are delighted to share that Humankind’s Reconnected to Health Team have recently won the Best Use of Workplace Technology award at the Nursing Times Awards.

The Nursing Times Workforce Awards is an event that recognises and rewards the outstanding work that is being done by staff and employers to support the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Co-located with the Nursing Times Workforce Summit, the event inspires and rewards organisations for excellence in supporting the future of the health and care workforce.

Humankind and our partners Spectrum were shortlisted with His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and Lifeworks for the Best Use of Workplace Technology category.

Their partnership was recognised for working to roll out Breaking Free Online, a confidential treatment and recovery programme developed to support people through their recovery from drugs or alcohol.

Robyn Taylor, a service manager at HMP Durham, attended the Nursing Times Awards on 21 November and received the award on behalf of the team.

Jas Holburn, Area Manager for North East Prisons at Humankind, said:

“We are very proud to be part of this partnership, and this award reflects the power of collaboration between HMPPS, Spectrum, Breaking Free Online and Humankind to offer innovative digital solutions to people in our care in North East prisons.”


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.

Humankind’s community members travel over 1,000 miles together in celebration of Recovery Month

Jack Keery

Barnsley Recovery Steps, a Humankind service, on a recovery walk through Barnsley

Humankind has been celebrating the successes of people recovering from addiction by holding events throughout September to mark Recovery Month.

Recovery Month is a national event that celebrates the achievements of people who have sought treatment for drug and alcohol use.

Staff, volunteers, and people who use our services have joined together at a range of events, including walks, bicycle rides, community litter picks, and step-challenges to recognise the achievements of close to 30,000 people who access our recovery services each year.

North Yorkshire Horizons hiking

Speaking about the events, Humankind’s CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“National Recovery Month is always a hugely significant time in our charity’s calendar, not only because we are able to celebrate the fantastic achievements of people who have accessed our services and thrived within them, but because those people have the opportunity to show others who may be struggling that recovery from substance misuse is both real and achievable.

“The collective effort from participants to amass over 1,000 miles in walks, bike rides, and many other events sends a strong message that we must end the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol issues, and instead celebrate those in recovery who are taking life-changing steps and aiming to maintain their sobriety.”

In total, our Recovery Month participants collectively travelled over 1186.9 miles, representing more than three times the distance from our head office in Durham to the location of our service furthest in the south, EDP in Devon.

As well as events to get active, Humankind’s services have also hosted graduations for those who have achieved sobriety and parties for those in recovery.

Forward Leeds, one of our drug and alcohol recovery services, hosted a recovery graduation at Elland Road with former Leeds United football player Jermaine Beckford and professional boxer Maxi Hughes presenting the ceremony.

Professional boxer Maxi Hughes and Jermaine Beckford at the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation

In Sheffield, The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation hosted a garden party in recognition of the achievements of tenants such as Greg Goodwin, who in the space of a year went from being in intensive care as a result of alcoholism to going sober and taking part in a 170-mile bike ride.

Other events featured in Humankind’s Recovery Month calendar included:

  • Barnsley Recovery Steps – 10-mile ramble
  • Calderdale Recovery Steps – outreach event in Halifax Town Centre, with public speakers, bands, choirs, and stalls
  • EDP Drug and Alcohol Services – Mount Everest Steps Challenge
  • Forward Leeds – Waterfront Recovery Walk
  • North Yorkshire Horizons – Yorkshire Three Peaks hike
  • South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service – Recovery Walks
  • Staffordshire Adult Recovery Service – Recovery Walks
  • The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation – 170-mile Way of the Roses bike ride
  • The Greens Recovery Focused Accommodation – weekly community litter picks