Prior to learning of the Alliance funding decision, we arranged with Someone Else’s Addiction (family support project) of jointly hosting a community event on 16th August 2019 in light of the continued trend of tragic deaths through drugs, alcohol and suicide within East Ayrshire.
This was an opportunity in bringing a range of key stakeholders together, as requiring collective efforts in order to address and identify solutions to reducing these shocking statistics; whilst offering support, hope and purpose to individuals and families directly impacted. These are not just numbers, these are family members, friends and our residents. These devastating events are having a truly significant toll on many people.
The aim of the event was considering what works, what’s not working, and what can be done to reduce the risk, increase recovery opportunities and inclusive support; whilst recognising the stigma, inequalities and discrimination preventing individuals and families accessing support. It was heartening to hear regular reference of the need for a recovery café in East Ayrshire, recognising the positive impact within the two other Ayrshire localities.
The 110 people attending the event heard heartbreaking stories of families living in extreme poverty and the impact of bereavement on families, and the injustice families faced. It was evident our services and supports are not always meeting the needs of people within our community.
Through a range of presentations and table discussions there was valuable feedback gathered, which has been compiled within a report with plans of sharing within a range of strategic groups and elected members to consider approaches inclusive of all community members and aligning resources to reducing risk, increasing support and enhancing opportunities.
Our key message from the event is providing a meaningful turning point and catalyst for change; moving forward together in a more collaborative and compassionate manner, which our organisation ethos, vision and proposed recovery café model contributing to new ways of working.
We are planning a follow up community event in order to share feedback gathered and demonstrate voices have been heard, and we all care enough to make a difference, which will hopefully begin to shape new approaches through agreeing clear actions with regular reflection and accountability; driven from those community members most affected.