Over 100 walk through city to celebrate recovery from addiction

NHS recovery workers supporting people with drug and alcohol addiction led a recovery walk through the city of Sheffield to raise awareness of services in the city and to celebrate people who are working hard to recover from addiction.

The members of the Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Team (START) were joined by service users as well as local charities such as Project 6, Shelter and The Greens. Around 100 people attended in total, and many wore fancy dress related to this year’s theme, purple!

The walk took place on 1 September, it started at Sidney Street and ended at Hillsborough Arena, where those who attended were treated to lunch, an awards presentation, poetry and music from Rite Trax DJs.

Several people at the walk were there to formally be awarded their qualification as START Ambassadors. These are former service users who work with people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to support them to recover and help them to access the services the city has to offer.

Ambassadors undertake peer support and collaborate with staff to deliver groups and recovery activities; they also undertake education workshops and training to learn more about mental health and potentially take their first steps to becoming recovery worker.

Six ambassadors graduated, including Sean Hill who said: “As ambassadors, we see some really strong people walk through our doors at Sidney Street and the Fitzwilliam centre, a lot of their experiences have been built through hardship and pain, but these people have built a skillset that can help them go far in life. The ambassador course offers you a platform to showcase these skills and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at START for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

Carl Bridden, Community Engagement Coordinator at START, said: “It’s been fantastic to celebrate people’s stories of recovery from addiction in our community, and what a great way to kickstart Recovery Month. Sheffield has a wide range of services to support people with addiction and if you are struggling, know that we are here to support you.”

START is part of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC). It is based at two sites in the city centre. Its 125 members of staff support people with drug and alcohol addiction to reduce their dependency.