Staffordshire – Humankind

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’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

Humankind expands successful IPS service

Jack Keery

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021. Humankind has subsequently been awarded new contracts to deliver IPS in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria, while continuing our work in Staffordshire.

IPS is a ground-breaking employment programme which provides people with intensive support to find stable employment tailored to their individual needs.

STARS oversaw 87 enrolments into the IPS service during this time, with 55% of those subsequently finding suitable employment, despite the extra challenges faced by jobseekers throughout the pandemic.

While warehouse logistics and customer service/retail positions comprised the majority of those obtained by STARS’s IPS participants over the last financial year, job starts also spanned industries like health and social care, driving, administration/legal, production, trade, and cleaning.

The Staffordshire scheme even secured a stable self-employment route for a participant who needed to fit working hours around their family life after years of being paid in beer and food working in the “grey economy” with no permanent address.

It is hoped that the successful rollout of the IPS scheme within Humankind’s drug and alcohol services in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria will have a transformative impact on our ability to provide employment support to people who access them, while underlining the need for a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Humankind CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“The success of STARS’s IPS work embodies Humankind’s mission to help people tackle their drug and alcohol use, not just through treatment, but also by paying attention to the social and economic factors which may hamper their road to recovery.”

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Inclusion Health Division, said:

“We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do. This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:

“We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“The IPS scheme clearly shows people’s prospects of finding work can be improved, which in turn can lead to sustained recovery from drug use.

“We are delighted to be working with Humankind STARS to increase the availability of this highly personalised and intensive employment support in Staffordshire, and across the UK.”

IPS has eight key characteristics that distinguish it from most other forms of employment support:

  1. Paid employment secured in the competitive job market is the goal.
  2. It is open to all those who want to work.
  3. It aims to support people to find work that matches their preferences and interests.
  4. Job search and contact with employers are initiated quickly, within 4 weeks.
  5. IPS is embedded in and integrated with the treatment services.
  6. The IPS specialists engage directly with employers, building relationships to benefit their clients.
  7. It provides individualised unlimited support to the participant and their employer.
  8. Participants are given expert advice around welfare benefits to enable them to make informed decisions about work.

If you are a jobseeker or an employer who wants to hire one of our IPS participants, read more about our IPS offer.