Posted on: 11 October 2021

There were cheerful scenes in Hounslow last week as we came together to officially launch the Recovery Day Programme (RDP). This builds on CNWL’s successful RDP in Brent; a recovery focused, group-based treatment programme, to support service users who have achieved abstinence from a variety of addictions.

“This will be a community-based rehabilitation service with the prime purpose of getting service users back to an abstinent lifestyle free of addiction. The idea is to help people focus on the solutions so they can get the support they require, develop positive life skills and make positive changes,” says Shiv Sharma, who is currently managing the Hounslow programme.

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Dr Andre Geel, Lead Clinical Psychologist for the RDP team adds:

“Our service can help users from the moment they know they have a problem to the moment they leave and even after they finish the programme. The outcomes are amazing as well. This programme is the best we can possibly offer people in terms of treatment, resources and skills to get better. It’s wonderful to see this happening and watch it working.”

The event opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and the RDP team used the opportunity to take attendees through a taster session on the five ways of wellbeing, an activity that is regularly undertaken by service users during the programme. The challenge was to break a board, a task that is associated with martial arts or karate.

CNWL colleagues gathered alongside Hounslow Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill and Senior Public Health Commissioner Clare Gomm. Others joined the launch on Zoom, including Dr Jeffrey Fehler, CNWL’s Clinical Director for Addictions and Dr Simon Edward, Divisional Medical Director. Speeches and stories were shared, thanks given and congratulations imparted. The charity group, The Open Kitchen, donated lunch for the occasion.

“The past year has not been easy, but to launch this initiative is a real milestone,” said Dr Jeffrey Fehler. “Solution focused, evidence-based intervention is key to support service users to integrate recovery into their lives in a sustainable way. That’s why this programme is so special - we are using tried and tested methodology. We know that this methodology works from our Brent service. It’s well established and successful.”

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Hounslow Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill said:

“This is a fantastic new addition to the service and it really is in the interests of our residents. Some services haven’t been able to do frontline work and had to stop during the pandemic, but you have carried on throughout, gone above and beyond and developed the service at the same time.”

Four services users who are currently undertaking the RDP - Andrea, Elizabeth, Katrina and Qas - also joined the festivities and conveyed their experiences of the programme, which has been running for three weeks. They retold powerful stories about how the RDP has made a real difference to their lives.

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“I have found it [RDP] extremely useful in giving me more structure in my life," says Elizabeth. "It feels that the programme is totally geared to the people in the group. It has given me facts and ideas that I am developing in my life and that always stay with me.”

Andrea said: “the RDP has given my life much needed structure and support. I have received so many positive benefits such as the relapse prevention, smart recovery, mindfulness and positive psychology. I feel this has significantly improved my wellbeing and feelings of hope and success for the future.”

Concluding the ceremony, service user Qas offered a poem to the group:

“The RDP, I see, I see, the blue, the green, the sky, the trees.

All the things that were great to me are now clear, bright, true as can be.

So thank you guys for helping me, let’s relax and have a cup of tea.”

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