Hope UK - helping young people avoid drugs
Hope UK is a national registered charity with a Christian foundation working through trained volunteers to prevent drug and alcohol-related harm to children and young people. In the Highlands more workers are needed.
WITH more and more young people being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related conditions throughout the UK, there is a real need for Christians to engage with this issue.
Hope UK's Voluntary Drug Educator Training Programme is now in its seventeenth year and has had up to 200 volunteers at a time delivering drug and alcohol awareness sessions in their own and nearby communities. Jo Pickford fulfils this role in the Highlands and Islands, Moray & Grampian.
The Drug Educator training course is accredited with the Open College Network and takes 120 hours to complete, consisting of distance learning and three hands-on training weekends. All volunteers must be Christians and are subject to interview, self-disclosure and CRB check as well as having two references taken up as a condition of acceptance onto the Programme.
Once trained, Educators work directly with children and young people in schools, youth groups and informally, but they are also trained to help parents, youth workers and others with responsibility for children to do their own drug prevention work.
The current strategy is to recruit and train groups of around ten Drug Educators in local areas (such as the Highlands and Islands, Moray & Grampian), supporting them afterwards with a part-time Project Worker whose responsibility is:
- to make contacts with appropriate local council staff and local voluntary agencies with a view to finding work opportunities for the Educators;
- to encourage and help the Educators to use their training;
- to undertake drug awareness and training sessions at times when volunteers are unavailable;
Regarding her situation Jo says,
- to access local funding (with support from Hope UK’s HQ).
“I am in the process of developing my role in Scotland, having recently taken up the role of Local Project Worker. At present I have one year’s funding. My aim is to raise the profile of Hope UK and what the organisation offers to communities as well as recruiting a team of about ten voluntary Drug Educators.”
One of the benefits Hope UK claims for its localisation strategy is that part-time paid Project Workers are able to attend Substance Misuse Group and Drug and Alcohol Action Team meetings on a regular basis which is difficult for volunteers, most of whom have day jobs. Accordingly Hope UK feels well placed to offer its services at a time when local authorities may be having to cut many of theirs.
Footnote: If you are interested in finding out more about the work of check out the Hope UK website and/or contact:
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Tel. 07907 502693.
Christians Together, 21/03/2011