90 days in the job

Apr 26, 2024 | Blog

As part of International Women’s Day, Evelyn of North Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership’s support team publishes a blog detailing her experience and first 90 days in post. Evelyn has been welcomed with open arms from the great partners working across North Lanarkshire, her blog is an inspiring read….

Happy Reading 🙂

My first 90 Days as a Peer Support Worker in the NLADP.

On the 18th December I started in post and I had concerns about how the post would be
perceived, would it be tokenistic?

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The ADP (Alcohol and Drug Partnership) team have
welcomed me, encouraged me, invited me to participate and supported me through the
first few months in my new role and I feel I am settling into the role well. I have a work plan,
so I know my objectives, but I also have some autonomy in how I engage and meet the
objectives which is great because I feel that the support team trust me and that my voice is
an important part of the team.

A big part of my role is building relationships with people who use drug and alcohol services
within North Lanarkshire so that when we begin to set up the lived and living experience
panels later this year, people will know who I am, have had the chance to talk to me if they
wish and give their opinions and feedback on how the groups should look. I have been going
along to recovery cafes, groups and events and meeting lots of different people at different
stages in their recovery journeys. Last week I did an art class and had a plate of spaghetti
bolognese made by volunteers. I am always delighted to see and feel the friendly,
welcoming, non-judgemental environments that have been created and there is always tea,
good biscuits and someone to talk to available.

Natural relationships have begun to form with staff in different services as by attending
community groups and events I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and
engage with those who work within the communities as support workers, addiction
workers, advocacy workers etc. I’ve been to women only groups, peer groups and family
support groups across a range of different services and I have been pleasantly surprised at
how much recovery support for people and their families there is in North Lanarkshire and
that the groups are well supported by staff and led by peers and volunteers in the
organisations leading them. It has also become apparent that people who use the services
are actively involved and want to share their stories and give feedback on the services that
have supported them or not.

As a peer worker I have shared my own story where appropriate, I am aware it makes a
difference to people’s perceptions of me and the ADP because unfortunately statutory
services like the ADP are still viewed as being suspicious at times, but I am discovering that
it’s through lack of knowledge sometimes. Lots of people I engage with do not know who
the ADP are or what they do so hopefully part of my role is promoting the ADP by sharing
what we do and what my role is.

At a family group during a discussion about Naloxone a family member said they would
rather use Nyxoid (nasal spray) as they said that using needles felt wrong to them as they
had negative feelings around them due to their loved one’s intravenous drug use and it was
a traumatic experience even when they had completed training on how to use. I asked why
they didn’t use Nyxoid and discovered it wasn’t routinely offered, it is significantly more
expensive than the Prenoxad. I raised this with colleagues and families are now offered both
types of Naloxone because choice is important. Listening to people’s concerns and acting on
them quickly fosters trust and shows people that talking about their experiences can be a
catalyst for change. I found listening to families and friends discuss their experiences
difficult because of my own experiences. I am glad that there are services exclusively
available for families, they are generally expected to be there for their loved ones without
much support and involvement in their treatment and its must be incredibly difficult to
navigate for them.

I have been actively attending lots of different activity groups in the localities and any issues
I have run into, for example a group not being on when it’s advertised to be running, I have
been able to speak with the development workers resulting in positive conversations about
what works, what needs support and what doesn’t work taking place resulting in better
services with more active engagement for those who wish to access them.

I have been studying for the Reach Advocacy award and as time consuming and at times
difficult it has been Human Rights are at the forefront of my mind now and I see human
rights holistic practice being used within commissioned services sometimes unknowing. It
does feel that staff within commissioned services have those they support at the heart of
everything they do by promoting dignity, equality and well-being with lots of task-based
events such as Craft, yoga, team sports, art and music classes on offer to all as well as
practical skills with budgeting, coping skills, naloxone training, first aid etc.

Another part of my work plan is to shadow commissioned services and I have now been into
a few services to gain insight which I feel is invaluable as it means I can promote services to
people with a more in-depth working knowledge and understanding of how they operate, as
well as which services are best for different groups of people. I am also engaging with
national partners and have been doing all the online training they offer, again so that I can
recommend it to others having already completed it.

I have a particular interest in stigma work and have been attending as many seminars, talks,
training and groups as I can to gain more understanding of the affects it has on those in
North Lanarkshire and what I can do as a peer worker to support the people in our

Thanks for reading 🙂

90 Days in the job

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