EAHSCP staff, guests and elected members at the recent ADP conference

ADP Conference highlights power of relationships


Our Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (ADP) recently held its annual conference at the Park Hotel in Kilmarnock.

Titled ‘Supporting Communities’, this year’s conference focused on the transformative power of communities and what can be achieved when local areas take a proactive approach to tackling addiction issues.

Proceedings were opened by ADP Chair, Neil Kerr, who introduced Robin McAlpine, Founder and Strategic Director of The Common Weal think tank.

Robin spoke passionately about the power of relationships and a community-based approach in lifting individuals out of addiction:

Relationships work. Scientifically, measurably, realistically…they just do. The younger down you go with a client group the more important relationships become.

If we start reminding ourselves that health is a community thing…that care is a community thing….and we tackle it through our community, we can turn a lot of things around. We need to make communities powerful so they can tackle these problems.”

Attendees also heard from Jo Gibson, EAHSCP Head of Wellbeing and Recovery, who spoke about the GIRFE approach (Getting It Right For Everyone) to supporting those struggling with addiction. Like Robin, Jo also highlighted the importance of building a relationship of trust with the people we’re trying to help:

“Nobody decides to become an addict. Stuff happens [which leads to] hurt and other responses and lack of choice and, years later, an addiction problem. Nothing happens, nothing works, nothing gets better if we don’t trust the people who are helping us.”

It was a privilege to hear from representatives of so many recovery support providers, including NHS Addiction Services, We Are With You and Ayrshire Council on Alcohol.

We also had some terrific entertainment from the talented Cumnock Community Choir, hilarious Glaswegian comedian Gary Little and the wonderfully festive Salvation Army brass band!

Thanks also to Neil for presenting the event and leading attendees through the day, and to all staff at the Park Hotel for taking such great care of us.

Here’s to another year of making recovery real and visible in our communities and to breaking down the stigma and other barriers which discourage people from seeking support.

If you ever need support for recovery, call RADAR (Rapid Access to Drug and Alcohol Recovery) on 01563 574237.