Substance misuse service making waves at Phoenix FM


A recovery group provided by the Calderdale substance misuse service has been making waves at the local community radio station.

Phoenix Radio is the local Calderdale radio station that provides listeners with topical local news, views and sounds. It is staffed by Calderdale people, some have broadcasting experience, others do not, but all possess the commitment to provide Calderdale with a radio station. The station also provides opportunities for people to take part in training courses in the medium of radio to develop skills such as improving communication skills as well as building self confidence that are transferable socially and to other areas of work.

Members of the En Route alcohol recovery group have been attending the training sessions at Phoenix and the results are already having a positive impact on the rest of their life.

En Route is a service user led mentor group for people who have used the Calderdale substance misuse service for alcohol problems. The group provides ongoing support and encouragement for people who are discharged from the service and are abstinent. As part of activities to develop confidence and build new skills En Route enrolled in a 16 week training programme at Phoenix FM. This was a unique opportunity for members of En Route to learn skills associated with working on a radio station at the same time as rebuilding self-esteem and confidence.

Two members of the group, Sue and Paul, have been attending since the course began and have already benefitted from the sessions. Members take part in sessions each week from 2pm-5pm and work on new activities each session including how to make a jingle, editing content, recording interviews and even how to build a portable radio. Neither Sue or Paul had any experience of working at a radio and weren’t even sure if they would enjoy it at the beginning. But each has realised they have an interest that they never knew existed and have learnt completely new skills.

As well as developing the skills needed to work on a radio members of En Route has also had the opportunity to talk about their experiences with alcohol abuse and incorporate this into the sessions. Through recorded interviews they have been able to promote the service and the recovery process as well as demonstrating how far they have come.

Speaking about the sessions Lorraine Connell, open access intervention worker with the Calderdale substance misuse, said, "It’s brilliant to see how far the group have come. Not just since working at Phoenix FM but also by attending En Route. I remember when Sue first started attending the En Route meetings and she was shy and doubted her ability to try new things. Now she handles the minutes for every meeting, takes part in art groups and is recording jingles for the radio. It’s fantastic to see how much they are all enjoying and embracing these new opportunities."

Speaking about his experience Paul said, "It was a steep learning curve coming to the radio as there was so much to learn. But slowly we’ve developed new skills and started to pick it up bit by bit."

For more information about the Calderdale substance misuse service and to find out how to access the service contact a member of the Open Access team on 01422 361111, or Freephone 0800 3286297.

Substance misuse service making waves at Phoenix FM

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