100 people supported by North Yorkshire Horizons Telephone Recovery Service

The North Yorkshire Horizons ‘Telephone Recovery Service’ is a supportive system within North Yorkshire’s drug and alcohol support service which allows people who have issues with substance use to talk with someone, over the phone, who has been through similar experiences in the past.

The Telephone Recovery Service is made up of a small team of dedicated volunteers who flexibly give their time each week to be there for the people North Yorkshire Horizons supports who need someone to listen.

Their friendly, non-judgemental approach to taking the calls aims to support people to reduce their drug or alcohol use and sustain their recoveries. These volunteer recovery voices have now donated their valuable time to support over 100 people in North Yorkshire.

Kevin Rafferty, Community Asset Coach said:
“Our Telephone Recovery Service has become an invaluable resource. It allows people who are accessing our support the opportunity to speak with someone who has been in a similar place as themselves. It gives people extra reassurance that we are here for them and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“People who use drugs or alcohol often also experience social isolation and loneliness but having that lived experience on our team shows that it is possible to make positive changes and go on to live a life that is meaningful to them.”

Rebecca Tait, Volunteer Coordinator at North Yorkshire Horizons, said:
“I’m incredibly grateful for the commitment of all our volunteers. We have many roles for volunteers, but the Telephone Recovery Service is a really special one, where they each bring something unique to the team.

“The feedback we get from both Key Workers and those using the service is incredibly positive and proves how valuable it is to have lived experience in recovery.”

Someone who has experienced using the Telephone Recovery Service said:
“Your contact has helped me big time this week. I’m sure it’s a huge support keeping me focussed, a major part in my recovery”.

Having someone to speak to with their own lived experience of substance use allows people to open up, receive support without fear of judgment, and see that recovery is possible.

The calls are not there to replace the vital in-person work carried out by North Yorkshire Horizon’s key support workers but to provide additional wraparound support to people engaging with the service.

The combination of structured and flexible treatment options gives people more freedom to access the support they need when they need it, without the worry of isolation, geographical barriers, cost of travel, or time issues.

The Telephone Recovery Service also brings benefits for the volunteers who answer the calls. It’s a flexible role providing volunteers who are in recovery from substance use to develop their skills whilst supporting others.

People who complete treatment with North Yorkshire Horizons and Humankind, the national provider which runs the service, have the opportunity to secure employment after volunteering. Two Telephone Recovery Service volunteers have already progressed into paid roles at the service.

Training for the role includes safeguarding, confidentiality, and professional boundaries, whilst also exploring conversation starters, using open ended questions, active listening skills and wellbeing strategies.

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