A new project has launched across Sheffield to help recovering drug and alcohol addicts build bridges with their local community.
REC-CONNECT is a city-wide venture to help fill the void affecting patients after they have finished their treatment.
The scheme is inspired by a project carried out in Australia by Professor David Best to reduce repeated offending and re-engage the offenders with the community.
While Professor Best is the architect of Sheffield-based REC-CONNECT, the project also involves a collaboration of services such as Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust (SHSC).
Dr Ruta Rele, Consultant psychiatrist at SHSC, is leading the project on behalf of the Trust.
“A lot of patients with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as mental health, feel quite cut off from the rest of society. They are shunned by society and they also cut themselves off from their family, and when they actually tackle their addiction it becomes quite difficult for them to build those bridges,” she said.
“I think this project helps them to build those bridges with society and helps them reconnect with society so that they feel a part of the community again.”
The project involves the recruitment of volunteers and specialists from various services to act as community connectors who will help the patients to access groups, clubs and services within the community.
There are over 130 services involved with the project, ranging from fishing clubs to knitting groups.
The project aims to make the most of the services and activities already available across Sheffield, and make sure they are accessible to people in recovery.
REC-CONNECT has received funding for the next few months, and hopes to extend this funding to continue providing care and support to people.