A year of success for drug and alcohol support service in Leeds

Lisa Parker.
Lisa Parker.
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A drug and alcohol problem support service has helped nearly 6,000 people in Leeds since its launch a year ago.

Forward Leeds is a Leeds City Council-commissioned service that provides drug and alcohol advice as well as assistance with appointments and referrals.

Set up in July last year, it responds to more than 100 calls a day and has worked with a total of 5,889 people to date.

Forward Leeds executive director Lisa Parker said: “We have managed to make a really positive contribution to the lives of so many people in the city.

“Leeds is rightly thought of as one of the best places in the country to get support to recover.

“Since we launched last July, we have steadily grown our services and become very well known throughout the city.

“We’ve run effective public health campaigns such as Like My Limit, which informs people about the health harms of alcohol.

“We have also been delighted with the positive feedback we’ve received about the recent Illegal Highs campaign, which raises awareness of the potentially fatal risk posed by former ‘legal highs’.

“We have also launched a new Recovery Academy in Burley, for people of Leeds in recovery.

“We have achieved so much already and next year looks even more exciting.”

Coun Rebecca Charlwood, the council’s executive member for health, well-being and adults, said: “Forward Leeds has used its first year to provide welcome new services which integrate drug and alcohol service for the city.

“At a time when there are significant pressures on health and care resources we have to find innovative ways to link prevention and support people through treatment and into recovery, providing information and education around health and the impact of drugs and alcohol.

“Through its offer of a range of services, Forward Leeds has supported many people, including families, across the city and as it celebrates its first year since it began operating, I look forward to the service continuing to play its part in Leeds’s commitment to improving health for everyone and reducing health inequalities.”

Forward Leeds works out of four main ‘hubs’. Two are at Kirkgate and New Market Street in the city centre while the others are in Armley and Seacroft.

Its services can be accessed through GP surgeries or by calling 0113 887 2477.

Backing for the scheme comes from Leeds’s three NHS clinical commissioning groups and it is operated in partnership with organisations such as the Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities charity and St Martins Healthcare.