University gears up to support pilot outdoor project for recovering addicts
8 December 2015
Take a health and wellbeing charity, a university and an ex Royal Marine, add in Lottery funding and you have an inspirational partnership that is helping to transform the future for people in North Wales whose lives have been affected by drug and alcohol issues.
The charity is ARCH, the university Glyndŵr in Wrexham, and the former Royal Marine Neil Davies, founder of outward bound organisation Active Adventure North Wales. Together they launched a pioneering pilot scheme on Tuesday (December 10), which draws on the region's natural beauty and uses outdoor pursuits to support those who have experienced problems with drugs and alcohol on their journey to recovery.
The initiative comprises a series of day long courses tailor made for ARCH's clients across the six counties of North Wales. The courses are interspersed with the charity's 12 week health and wellbeing programme, which is based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, and will culminate in a two day residential outward bound course.
The partnership with Glyndŵr University and Active Adventure North Wales is the brainchild of ARCH Health and Wellbeing Facilitator Ramsey Morsy who explained: "Our aim as a charity is not only to inspire and empower people to break free from drug and alcohol dependency but also to improve their overall physical and emotional health and wellbeing. We were delighted to team up with Glyndŵr University and Active Adventure North Wales in this unique way to promote the benefits of physical exercise and low or no cost outdoor activities such as walking and cycling. All the evidence shows that long term improvements in health and wellbeing help people to sustain their recovery from drug and alcohol problems and transform their lives."
The first group of ARCH's clients to road test the new course came from Wrexham and began with a scenic cycle ride along the coastal path, starting from the Marine Lake in Rhyl, and was followed by a team building exercise in raft building. Shotton clients will be next to take to the roads on December 10.
Says Neil Davies, a Royal Marine for eight years and long time member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning: "Our courses take people on a self-led journey of discovery, which dovetails well with ARCH's aims. We have worked closely with the charity to design a bespoke programme to support its clients particularly to build relationships and experience a sense of belonging, which is something people with drug and alcohol issues often lack. It is also about teaching values, leadership and assertiveness as well as improving people's communications skills."
Lucy Jones, Work Experience Officer at Glyndŵr University, commented: "We have strong relationships with charitable organisations across the Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire areas and were able to enhance the work ARCH is already doing through People and Places Big Lottery funding.
"The partnership with ARCH fits in very well with our aim to help our students to become involved with a charitable project and gain through work experience. Not only does that aid their employability, it also brings real benefits for the community."
ARCH is dedicated to enhancing the health and wellbeing of people and communities. It provides criminal justice, community and residential treatment services throughout the North of England, the Midlands and Wales. ARCH is the lead contractor in the Affinity Partnership, which has been appointed to deliver the North Wales Criminal Justice Integrated Substance Misuse Service for up to five years by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for North Wales and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) in Wales. ARCH also works with families and local communities alongside other service providers such as Job Centre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureaux and local community groups.