Posted on: 8 April 2020

The Recovery Day Programme is an effective six-day-a-week, abstinence-based group programme for clients in Brent recovering from a variety of addictions.

It provides evidence-based psychological treatment in relapse prevention to clients and has been part of the New Beginnings service in the borough since its inception in 2016.

For clients to get the most from it, they remain on the program for 12 weeks, ideally attending five to six days per week, from 10am to 4pm, and then “graduate” with the recovery skills they have acquired at the end of week 12.

They are then followed up via monthly telephone counselling sessions for a further six months to ensure these relapse prevention skills are working effectively.

That is how the programme functioned until Friday, 13 March, when it shut down all of its group programmes across the borough in response to the Covid-19 threat.

The RDP team decided the programme had to continue the following week - but in virtual form using a combination of contact by phone, email, text or Skype.

Following a weekend spent reorganising and repurposing everything, the new remote “RDP-V” (virtual) started on the Monday via email.  

This included handouts and CBT-style homework to be completed and sent back to the service. The response was excellent with most clients responding by email and phone to the exercises set them. This surprised even the facilitators as we were not sure if clients would warm to a more distant version of the groups.

The Monday morning group was followed by two “groups” that afternoon - Positive Psychology and Self-Esteem also delivered via email with appropriate interactive exercises.

During the next few days the groups were followed up with phone calls to all clients to make sure we kept more personal contact and responded to any feedback, questions and comments about the new system.

All of this was occurring in the context of the developing Coronavirus crisis and the NHS 24-hourly rolling system of updates, service modifications, reviews and redeployment of resources.

By the third day the RDP had trialled running a group using the Zoom platform, allowing clients and facilitators to run a virtual, video group which more closely approximated the original “live” groups. We are now able to run three Zoom groups a week,.

Staff can link in securely to Zoom using the NHS mail system thus preserving personal and data confidentiality.

The fact that we have kept this key aspect of the service functioning is testament to the creativity, resilience, energy and perseverance of the entire complement of the New Beginnings service.

We continue to look forward to the coming challenges and the opportunities they present in the hope of developing even better services for our clients and the borough.

André Geel
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Clinical Lead - Recovery Day Programme


What our clients said

Here are some useful quotes from clients and graduates of the RDP service:

Client A

“Immediately I felt that there was this warmth from all the staff and almost like a respect and they kept saying, like Mo and Dee, you know you’re adults and I’m going to treat you as such. You know, and for me that was greatly appreciated and they kept true to that, you know it wasn’t something that they said.”

“When you have that kind of environment, it enables you to open up more, you know you obviously feel more comfortable, much more comfortable. And I’ve seen a lot of people come in here. Like if they were on some of those old treatments they would never open up. Because remember the nature of this disease, you’re suspicious of people, you isolate more right, so you’re wary about people and it’s very hard, it’s very difficult for the addict to open up, so I think that’s a big thing. And I think the level of which people open up here, I found was a lot higher than other treatment centres. People just tend to play a game, right…..but here it’s a lot more genuine.”

“The best thing I can say about my time at RDP is the atmosphere, this nice atmosphere that has been created but also that I found incredibly useful, I mean useful doesn’t even cut it. But for me, it was the first time in my life, that I have been in a setting with people which I’m not particularly close too, you know whether it’s close family members or people that I grew up with, that I felt that I could be myself.”


Client B (Particularly on the remote version of the programme)

“Hi Mo 

Hope Ur well.

So I watched the short video and was amazed how a group can change people's happiness. I shouldn't be amazed cos the RDP group made me a happy again which I haven't been for a long time. I’ve done things such as spend time with my family which I didn't before and it brings me happiness being sober and being proud of that brings me happiness.

Having (me) time just to reflect on myself makes me happy.

Not being in debt or owing people money and getting a good night sleep and waking up fresh makes me happy.




The RDP Team


The Team – Live while doing a Zoom Session.