Glasgow Recovery Communities Step Up to the Mark during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Published: | Addictions

Volunteers, who run recovery cafes and initiatives in Glasgow, have stepped up during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support themselves and other people to help maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Supported by Glasgow Recovery Services, the volunteers are facilitating on-line meetings and activities three times a day, seven days a week helping people to sustain recovery from drugs and alcohol, maintain their mental health and reduce isolation by staying connected.

Volunteers are receiving referrals from Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services and other services, enabling them to connect with other people helping them to abstain or reduce their drug and alcohol use during COVID-19.

Many people are experiencing the financial effects of being at home with their children, and families are being supported to ensure they have sufficient food and other help so that they stay connected.

The volunteers wanted to thank NHS staff and key workers for their support during lockdown, and they have produced a video that has been posted on social media.

The weekly programme of activities includes recovery meetings, daily check-ins, quizzes, mindfulness, meditation, bingo, art workshops, song writing, men and women’s groups, family support and a variety of fitness classes including zumba, boxercise, yoga and break dancing.

Volunteers and people who are being supported are saying the on-line activity has been a lifeline and is essential for them to maintain their recovery.

A volunteer from South Recovery Communities said: “I have been volunteering for just over three years. With the help and support l am proud to say l am over two years in recovery and totally abstinent from drugs and alcohol. During COVID-19 I have had daily support to help with my mental health, wellbeing and emotional state. The on-line recovery programme seven days a week has been a massive support that l need for my recovery and to stay connected.”

A volunteer from North West Recovery Communities said: “The on-line programme has been a total lifeline for me. I really don’t know where I would be without it.”

A volunteer from North East Recovery Communities said: “The meetings are brilliant and I enjoy listening to people share their stories. I also get regular visits from staff and this has been great for my mental health. Thanks to everyone who provides this support.”

Kelda Gaffney, Service Manager, North East Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service, Glasgow City HSCP said: “I am hugely impressed, as always, by the amount of work and commitment our recovery volunteers and staff have dedicated to supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the city to ensure that they remain supported and feel like part of a community.

“People face lots of challenges to achieve and sustain recovery from alcohol and drug issues in ‘normal’ times, which includes stigma, isolation, low confidence, mental health difficulties and breakdowns in family relationships, all of which have been even more challenging over the past few months. However, the daily online support and availability of additional remote and face-to-face support has been invaluable, and I have no doubt that a number of lives have been saved as a consequence.”

Carole Meakin, Business Analyst, Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service, Glasgow City HSCP said: “The volunteers have really stepped up during COVID-19. The support they are providing has been absolutely crucial to keep people safe, not only away from drugs and alcohol, but helping with their mental health and well-being and reducing isolation for many who are shielding and live alone. It is amazing and a real privilege to see this level of support across the city."

Glasgow Recovery Communities are supported by Glasgow City HSCP staff and Recovery Coordinators, Glasgow Recovery Hubs, The Mungo Foundation and We Are With You.

Links to the recovery programmes are available on the Recovery Communities websites