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Matthew Project wins drug and alcohol contract

An innovative new drug and alcohol treatment and recovery service is to be launched right across Norfolk next spring with the Christian-based Matthew Project as one of its key partners. Keith Morris reports

RosalieWeetman420A five-year contract to run adult drug and alcohol services across Norfolk has been awarded to the Matthew Project, together with partner agencies Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for services in the community, and RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners’ Trust) who will work within prisons at Norwich, Wayland and The Bure.
These three agencies will work together as The Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) to provide the fully integrated service for adults affected by drugs and alcohol from April 1, 2013. 
It will be the first time services across the whole county have been provided by one partnership, in turn ensuring that people with drug and alcohol problems can access a fair, equitable and coordinated service, regardless of where they live.
Rosalie Weetman (pictured above), chief executive of The Matthew Project, said: “This contract gives us the opportunity to work even more closely with our partners to create a truly joined-up, easily accessible service for adults. This will give service users a smoother journey through the system while allowing us to be more responsive to their individual needs.”
The partnership will offer a menu of services which will include group work, talking therapies, non structured activities, substitute prescribing and development of life skills. The partnership will also explore the option of running services from different community locations to make them easier to access.
“This new service provides us with a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to people with substance misuse problems,” said Denise Grimes, service manager for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. “We have listened to feedback from services users and their families and have designed the service to be responsive and flexible as a result.”
Caroline Cole, development manager with RAPt, said: “This new partnership will ensure that offenders can receive a seamless service both during their sentence and following their release into the community. By placing an increasing focus on recovery and providing flexible, easily accessible services, we will help more people to move away from the cycle of addiction and crime.”
Shelagh Gurney, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services at the County Council, said: “This partnership will build on the good work that has already been done in Norfolk to help people overcome substance misuse. Having one contract for the adult treatment system in Norfolk will make it easier for people affected by drug and alcohol misuse to receive the help they need and ensure that the same support is available to people in all parts of the county.”
People will be able to self-refer into the open access service though a new website, by dropping into a recovery café or calling a 24/7 helpline. Health professionals and other agencies will also be able to refer people to the service. A new website giving information about the range of services which will be available is also being developed, and will go live later this year.

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