Tutors at West Nottinghamshire College have joined forces with Double Impact to offer rehabilitated drug and alcohol users with tailored support and learning – and the confidence to run their own event.

On Friday 7th September, students at Double Impact welcomed family, friends, staff, and Mansfield MP Ben Bradley to a fundraising event which they organised and staged themselves while studying on a volunteering course. The event featured a tombola and raffle, with prizes which the students sourced from local businesses; hand-made jewellery and crafts, refreshments, and speeches by peer mentors and current students.

The Double Impact Academy, based at St. John Street in Mansfield, offers a unique service that deals with all the issues facing recovering people, helping to break the cycle of addiction.

It is part of the Nottinghamshire charity Double Impact which first started supporting people with drug and alcohol issues in 1998. Since then it has collaborated with service users to develop an approach which takes people on a journey away from dependence on drugs or alcohol, into freedom from addiction and a meaningful, useful life.

Community tutors from West Nottinghamshire College have been working with the Academy to deliver confidence-building courses, craft sessions, IT programmes and volunteering courses to individuals.

Double Impact students are referred by Change, Grow, Live (CGL) – the organisation which helps people to understand the risks their drug or alcohol use pose to their health and wellbeing, and support them to reduce or stop their use safely.

Friday’s event was the culmination of students’ work who have attended the volunteering course at the centre, who wanted to stage a fundraising event to raise further awareness of the recovery service in the area.

Community Tutor Julie Bagshaw, said, “I’ve been delivering the confidence-building side of learning and the students have already shown remarkable progress.

“As part of the volunteering sessions, the students wanted to stage their own event and really embraced the challenge. From the very early stages of planning to today’s event, they’ve shown courage, confidence and commitment to showing others the benefits of the service they’ve gained from.”

Education Co-ordinator at Double Impact Academy Mansfield, Luis Rodrigues, said: “Everyone who comes to Double Impact has had a different journey so everyone needs different things. We run relapse prevention groups, one-to-one sessions and the fabulous classes with West Nottinghamshire College.

“We enjoy seeing people wanting to come to the centre and our 25 students are all enjoying their classes and getting something out of it. Today’s event has been brilliant and they’ve made me proud with their enthusiasm and commitment – they’ve even invited our local MP.

“We’ll be continuing to work with the college to deliver sessions because we put a strong emphasis on learning and volunteering as a key means of moving through and beyond treatment services, into the community.”

MP Ben Bradley said: “From speaking to some of the services users, they’ve experienced such a positive impact from the support they’ve had and the qualifications. It’s all helping them to make life changes.

“People I’ve spoken to have discussed career changes already and they’re building their confidence and new networks.

“We need to raise the profile of these kind of vital support services. Sometimes people have a set view about addiction, but there’s a whole lot more to it and we should all do our best to share their best practice widely.”

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