Local social enterprise, Cafe Sobar, has been awarded a grant by the Natwest Social & Community Capital Coronavirus Fund, to support it to re-open following closure due to the coronavirus crisis.
Cafe Sobar is a well-loved independent business and social enterprise in Nottingham city centre, set up by local charity, Double Impact Services, to provide work experience and a safe social space for local people in recovery from addictions. It hosts several recovery groups and regular events aimed at the recovery community and their families and friends, and helps people to gain confidence and new skills through its voluntary scheme. It’s welcoming and laid back atmosphere make it a firm favourite with families, community groups, people from different cultural backgrounds and indeed anyone who welcomes the choice to socialise without the pressures of alcohol.
Being heavily reliant on regular patronage by the general public, the prospects for the enterprise looked bleak when it was forced to close in March 2020 and lost all its trading income overnight.
Manager, Jason Loftus says “We’re so happy that we have received this support from the Natwest Social & Community Capital Coronavirus Response Fund, this, together with support from the city council, will really help us to make ends meet as things slowly return to some kind of normality over the next few months. We want to get back to supporting people in recovery from addiction and welcome our many community groups and regular customers back as soon as we can – we’re proud that we’ve been recognised as a valuable business that has a role to play in regenerating activity and bringing life into the city centre, following such a difficult time for everyone.”
Social & Community Capital is a charity funded and supported by NatWest in order to help social enterprises and community businesses.
Double Impact has been awarded funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, to develop and adapt more online services for people recovering from addictions.
The funding will enable their recovery and educational pathway, The Academy, to be translated into an online platform, allowing people in recovery to continue to learn and study a range of courses online. Double Impact have already adapted much of their group support to an online format as a result of the coronavirus crisis, but beneficiaries were missing out on the educational aspect of The Academy, which enables participants to gain new skills and qualifications, and opens up volunteering, training and employment prospects.
Steve Youdell, Director of Operations at Double Impact said,
We are very pleased that we will have the resources to adapt more of our support to an online format, particularly as we are facing the prospect of a second wave of coronavirus.
One of the positive outcomes of the past few months is that having more online services has enabled us to engage with more people who perhaps would normally struggle to access face-to-face services because of health, childcare or other reasons, or who live in more remote areas.
We want our services to be as flexible as possible to enable access by as any people as possible, in the immediate future and in the longer-term.
|We’ve been asking you about your personal journeys whilst in lockdown. Here is what a student from Lincolnshire had to say…
I had not heard of Double Impact prior to being hospitalised due to excessive drinking. Addiction has always been with me, excitement, fear and alcohol had always been part of my life. However, I began to drink more after operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, in an attempt to block out memories and as an aid to sleep. I was informed of the organisation’s existence by a nurse in the hospital. I was sceptical about the value of attending meetings, due to preconceived notions of Alcoholics’ Anonymous. I have no dislike of AA, but the thought of sitting in a touchy-feely group and outpouring my emotions to strangers filled me with dread. It was the encouragement of my spouse who cajoled me to attend.
The very last thing I needed was tea and sympathy and the first step of contacting the organisation was the hardest. There was tea, but little “sympathy” I’m glad to say. There was encouragement, but more importantly, practical support and the realisation that everybody’s path to recovery is different and the pace of the journey differs.
Perhaps one of the useful tools for me was articulating where I was and where I wanted to be. It is only when encouraged that you realise just what you’ve been missing, or at least what you have chosen to miss. I am currently working through SMART Recovery website and have discovered useful tools that can be used in other aspects of your life, aside from your self-consuming addiction.
My spouse has attended the Friends and Relatives’ meetings and while she does not discuss their content due to confidentiality, I know that she gets a great deal from meeting people in a similar position. I have realised that far from being a drain on society, recovering addicts have much to offer in terms of life experiences.
The meetings are carried out in an organised and constructive manner and full participation is encouraged but not insisted upon. When I attended my first meeting I was happy to just listen and “scope the terrain.” I have come to enjoy the meetings and look forward to them, enjoying their relaxed, informal and sometimes appropriately humorous manner.
This is due to the facilitators’ skills and empathy, which is so important to people, who may be feeling isolated and hopeless in these strange times we are living in. Because addiction has a selfish aspect, I often forget that the facilitators may themselves be feeling below par sometimes and it’s a credit to them that they carry on with the work, which must in some cases be emotionally draining.
I was impressed that a contingency plan was in place to carry on reaching out to people, via other means apart from face-to-face contact. Despite its limitations, zoom and other media has enabled us to remain in contact in a forum that is challenging, constructive and well run. I have been so impressed with Double Impact that I would willingly volunteer as a helper, to give something back for the organisation and people that have given much to me. It has helped me realise that addiction need not necessarily take over my life and it can be confronted and managed, to enable me to lead a normal life.
It has been hard for everyone during this difficult time with lockdown and even harder for people who are in recovery, still trying to be abstinent and being away from their friends and family and some live alone, but some lucky enough to live with others. It is only me and my daughter and I personally have found it difficult so I cannot imagine what it is like if you are on your own and are going through personal problems and addiction.
Since I was with “We Are With You”, Double Impact has kind of become my second family. I cannot express the gratitude to everyone involved. The people who attend the groups are amazing, we all have different issues and come from different backgrounds but we are all the same. No one understands properly until they have had to go into recovery themselves, family try to but it is so nice and comforting to know that during the week you can check what you have to do that day but make time to log on for a meeting. Everyone supports each other. It’s great listening to everyone else’s stories and giving advice also.
I really don’t think I would have managed without these zoom groups and I cannot thank you all enough and Sarah has been absolutely brilliant. She rings me every day Monday to Friday to check in and it is so nice to know that someone cares and gets it.
After lockdown I personally think zoom meetings should continue alongside face to face, as it is nice to see people properly but getting into town, parking etc. The zoom meetings, you are in your home environment and feel more comfortable about opening up about feelings and emotions or things that are going on in your day to day life.
There is not really much more to say apart from thank you, as I would not be where I am today if it was not for Double Impact and I am so grateful for that.
I have been attending We Are With You for about 2 years. I was asked if l wanted to attend Double Impact, I declined due to past experiences many years ago.
During lockdown my key worker Paul phoned and asked if he could pass my name onto the recovery team. I agreed, thinking that nothing would come of it .
However a day later l got a call from Sarah. She introduced herself and a bit about her role. She asked if she could ring again so that she could fill a form in with me .
She continued to call and gently encouraged me to do a Zoom meeting. Eventually, after plucking up courage l decided to do it, not like it and that would be that, I’d tried. At first attempt l couldn’t even get into the group as I’m a technophobe. Sarah went through the process step by step and it worked.
The first group I did was ‘Recovery Now’, run by Sam . He was so welcoming, and extremely encouraging. To my amazement I loved it and haven’t looked back.
I had a blip whilst Sarah was on leave, but I’d been contacted by Lisa in Sarah’s absence. I did ‘Living Sober’ with Lisa the next day. I felt guilty and a bit of a hypocrite. I txt Lisa afterwards. I don’t really know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t the wonderful message back which I got! She also phoned me. I learnt a lot that day, not only about the concept of Double Impact but she told me about how it works in real life.
To date, I honestly have to say that this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Never in my 57 years have I ever experienced such a feeling of belonging, support and understanding. I can only imagine it’s what belonging to a normal family feels like.
Lisa, and in particular Sarah, have been my rock , not just in overcoming alcohol, but helping me in other parts of my life.
All the facilitators are such professionals. I can’t thank everyone especially Sarah for that . The only way l can think to describe my life now is that I’ve come out of a cold, dark cave and discovered a bright new world.
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My name is Richard, and I’ve been a volunteer with Double Impact for around seven months, including lockdown time, which I’ve learned I have to navigate differently to normal time. As the lockdown loomed I was a bit worried, but I felt quite confident in my recovery. Last year I began working for Opportunity Nottingham as a Beneficiary Ambassador, so I knew that I would be occupied for a couple of days a week, and I have spent the last year or so since I finished the Studio House program building up a network of people I knew I could rely on to keep my thinking in check for just this type of unexpected event.
I’d love to say that I have spent the whole lockdown doing exciting productive things and growing as a person, but the fact is it’s been quite the rollercoaster! I initially had a huge rush of positive energy, and was able to make myself useful, setting up meetings and teaching everyone from my grandparents to the beneficiaries I work with how to use Zoom (they have now taken to calling me “The Tech Guy”). I managed to get into all the habits I’d hoped, going for walks and enjoying the sun. Trying to adapt my previous routines was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and I accepted the need to adjust to the new remote way of doing things. Just before we got told to stay at home I had bought a load of houseplants, and somehow the collection has multiplied and completely taken over my flat! I have been doing the odd shift to support the hub staff and have been helping to supervise the residents at the hotel the Framework Street Outreach Team have been providing for Nottingham’s rough sleepers to isolate in, and having this variety helped keep me chipper as time wore on.
I have a history of mental health difficulties, and I try to make sure that the way my life is set up ensures that when I begin to suffer from a low mood I am able to make allowances, managing my energy while still getting the essentials done. Given how long the lockdown seemed set to last I expected to have a dip sooner or later, but I hadn’t figured for how the lack of face to face interaction with my support network would impact me; I’d been so comfortable attending fellowship meetings in my lounging about clothes that I assumed I’d be perfectly fine to weather any storm! When I started to struggle I had to lean heavily on my friends, and it really drove home to me just how important having strong connections with them is to my recovery. I’ve been able to pay them back in kind, and it’s that back and forth that has meant the most to me these last few months.
Besides a bout of illness (tested – NOT Covid-19!) and a couple of emergencies I’ve had to step into to keep friends safe I have found myself a comfortable sort of equilibrium, and I’m looking forward to the next few months. I have changed a lot over the last two years, and have often felt that I am getting to know who I really am now I’m clean and sober, and having this pause before I begin my post-recovery-discovery in earnest has made me keenly aware of how important it is that I keep doing the things that keep me well, no matter what the future holds. The old normal didn’t seem to suit me anyway, and this “new normal” everyone’s talking about sounds much more my thing.
I hope you’ve all managed to stay happy and healthy through these odd times, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when the hub has opened back up. Stay safe!
My name is Tracy and I’m a Recovery Connector with Double Impact Nottingham. Our role is to introduce people to the various options within DI and the Nottingham Recovery Network that could help with your recovery and beyond.
During lockdown I’ve been connecting weekly with my service users by phone as well as helping them to stay in touch with other people in our various online groups. A voice at the end of the telephone can be a lifeline for some; or a maybe a face on the Zoom app works for others!
I’ve listened to some amazing stories and smiled at funny ones; I’ve helped people to negotiate the new online world that we use to access recovery and empowered people to ask for what they need. I’ve shared my experiences and felt uplifted by others; that is why I love my job.
Another exciting part of recovery for me is achievement and I’ve recently been seeking to improve my group work skills by attending online Double Impact groups and hosting a Zoom drop-in session of my own (‘Something Else’) on Mondays at 12.30pm. This helps me to build confidence and strengthen my resilience for the future.
Double Impact is a really supportive community and the contact I have with the service really helps to keep me on track; I recommend anyone to check out what we provide; you will always find a listening ear.
Since being in lockdown my recovery has changed so much – I feel I am now connecting with a wider range of people by attending more groups on line. Listening to a wider range of people has opened up new ways of thinking and ideas to help with my recovery in ways of adapting to the present way of life we are in now.
I find myself able to take more things in, as I’m not rushing around trying to get from place to place! This is enabling me to explore in more depth things that will help me progress in my education, new ways of thinking and developing these ways into helping others.
Being in lockdown has also helped me connect with my family more – spending important time re- connecting with them, doing video call quizzes and scavenger hunts around the house. This has built an even stronger bond. I feel happy that I have found the fun that I have always put on the back burner!
This has opened my eyes to managing work and family in a better light and not just taking my family for granted, and it’s made me appreciate everything they do to support me, as I was always not so observant in the little things my wife and sons did to support me.