Recovery Café for substance misuse going from strength to strength


A café that helps people struggling with substance misuse is going from strength to strength in Todmorden.

The Recovery Café, which is run by the Calderdale Substance Misuse Service, is held every Thursday from 11am – 3pm, in the crypt of St Mary’s Church, Todmorden and offers people the chance to get support to help them with their drug or alcohol problems.

Calderdale Substance Misuse service (CSMS), which is provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, offers specialist assessment, interventions and treatment for adults experiencing alcohol or drug related problems. The service provides treatment programmes, based on the best possible evidence that will have positive outcomes on health, crime, personal and social functioning.

The café opened in August 2012 and was created after service users expressed their desire to have a point of access to the service within the local community. The café is manned by staff from CSMS triage team and members of service user led mentoring groups Contour and En Route.

Anyone wanting support for substance misuse can drop in to the café each Thursday and get support and advice in a non-judgmental space, at the same time as having a drink and a snack to eat.

The café’s flexible approach gives people the chance to share their experiences and get support and guidance from professionals around many topics such as harm reduction, housing and benefits. It’s also an opportunity for staff to signpost people to different services.

An added benefit of the café is having a representative from Conn3ct there each week. Conn3ct is a service for drug users and dependent alcohol users who are in recovery. They are able to help with immediate issues such as benefits, debt management, housing and suitable living accommodation.

Through the café staff have built up good relationships with members of the church and people who have attended have also benefitted from the church’s counselling service.

Catherine Warnock, open access intervention worker, said, “As with all new ideas it took a little while for the word to spread around Todmorden but after a couple of weeks of being open, numbers began to increase. At present, a regular group of service users attend the café, engaging with both staff and peers alike. The attendance of Conn3ct workers also aid in service users accessing support in relation to housing, benefits and employment.

“People don’t have to be using the substance misuse service to attend the café and if they do attend they aren’t obliged to make contact with the service afterwards. It is hoped we can reach out to people and offer them the support they need, which gives them the boost they need to then come along to our triage clinic on a Monday at Todmorden Health Centre.”

Taz, a man who attended the café on a regular basis, said, “The Recovery Café is a hub for people who have a problem with substance misuse. People can feel a bit cut off in Todmorden so it’s good having a local service here and it really helped me. They offer impartial advice and we are able to share information with each other.”

For more information about the café contact the Calderdale substance misuse service on 0800 3286397.

Recovery Café for substance misuse going from strength to strength

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