All Together Now - April Edition of Together's Service User Newsletter

all together now!
in this edition:
In this edition...

Service Development Update
Plug In Devon
You said, We Did
Phone Gifting Review
Community Development Update

Spotlight on Family Services
Harm Reduction
Group Support
Breaking Free Online


Welcome to the 3rd edition of the All Together Now newsletter, the
newsletter that is your voice and keeps you up to date with what is
happening in the Together Community and beyond - enjoy!
This edition includes useful and important information on:
• An invitation for you to join our mission of building a service that is
responsive to your feedback and co-produced with you
• How we are keeping safe at Together as we start to ease out of
• An update on service developments
• An overview of a great recovery tool that is free to access 24/7 –
Breaking Free Online
If you would like to make a contribution for the next edition or have
ideas on how improve the newsletter, please contact the Community
Development Team on or speak to
your EDP/Together contact/Recovery Navigator who can request one
of the Community Development Team make contact with you.


In this edition:
Message from Joni
Note from Community Service Manager:
With the end of full lockdown in sight, we are looking to increase our face to face
work over the next couple of months. We are also looking at some larger interim
community venues so that we can see you in a group setting too. We will communicate any updates as and when they take place.
Our team are currently looking into a restructure and you may have noticed that
we have a Support Worker role being advertised in North Devon. This is an entry
level role into Substance Misuse and gives more opportunity to come and work
in this field if this is something that you are interested in.
Unfortunately we have some waits to enter treatment with us at the moment
and we are working hard to be able to reduce the time it takes to be able to access our service. Looking at our figures, we had around 20% of our appointments
not attended last month, this is 435 appointments. Due to COVID-19 I imagine it
can be more difficult to attend and we are keen to know what we can do to ensure that we are more accessible for you.
There are a number of ways in which you can feed into how the service works for
you and we would love to hear from you. Please speak to your Recovery Worker or give us a call. There are also Co-Production Action Meetings and Strategy
Meetings for you to join – see page 7 for details.

Community Service Manager,
Together Devon


Service Development
In this edition:
Covid-19 & Lockdown update:
We continue to be guided by government advice and as we have been throughout
the past year, all our main hubs remain open for seeing people face to face were
necessary. We are very pleased to say that as restrictions are slowly lifted we can
also start phasing in a return for more routine face to face appointments, and people visiting our bases for other reasons.
As a part of the return, it’s important for everyone to know that each base has been
COVID risk assessed with regular and thorough cleaning procedures and PPE in
place for staff and visitors.
Although attendance numbers will need to be monitored and limited, we will have
a booking system in place to optimise attendance as much as possible.
Please note that you will be asked to wear a mask and if you don’t have one we are
able to provide you with one.
We remind you that if you or anyone you have been in close contact with has
shown any symptoms of the virus, please do not attend our service, stay at home
and follow government guidance around being tested.
If you have any questions or would like further information about how we are keeping safe in the hubs, please contact us on 0800 233 54444.
We look forward to seeing people and connecting with you in person again.


Plug In Devon:
Since our last newsletter a new online platform for all Devon recovery community
has launched!

In this edition:

The site is manned by Online Connector Volunteers with lived experience and our
Online Community Coordinator, Ilaria. The idea behind it all is to bring together
Devon community members in recovery and ‘plug in’ with the services that may
be wanted and needed in a space that is welcoming, informative and easy to use.
The site is still in development so we’d love to hear your feedback about what you’d
like to see.
Please come and take a look
at Plug in Devon and search
our growing directory, make
use of the crisis support
quick links, check out the
events section and join our
forum to connect with peers
in recovery and build a Devon wide online recovery
We’re about to launch an exciting campaign called ‘The
First Step’ - all about taking
that first step into recovery.
We know it’s scary and unknown and looks different
for different people, but we
also know that the power of
connection with each other is inspiring, motivating
and reassuring. Please keep
checking the site for shares of personal stories all about taking that crucial ‘first
step’. We’d love you to join our campaign – just contact
or call/text 07958 728 672 and we’ll get in touch from there, supporting you all the
Plug in Devon is a partnership project between the Devon Together Alliance, who
are a formal partnership of local organisations committed to system change and
investment in Devon communities. Formed/led by EDP Drug and Alcohol Services,
the DTA includes Devon Partnership Trust, Devon Communities Together, Exeter
Community Initiatives (ECI), CoLab Exeter, BCHA, SAFE, Shekinah and Westbank
Community Health.


FOCUS: Prescribing Review involving Service Users and Together Staff:
Where has your feedback come from?
We asked staff and service users to feedback their experiences of participating
within the Together prescribing community. This was to give us and YOU a better
understanding of what we could do differently and respond to service user needs.
in August and asked you how you felt the service had responded during lockdown.
That you would like to see
staff receive increased
training on psycho-social
interventions as well as
prescribing interventions


Closer working:
For service users, prescribers
and recovery workers to work
more closely together to
avoid miss communication
and conflicting ideas in
prescribing reviews.

North and South Devon are already booking 3
way clinics with Exeter, Mid and East committing to doing so within the next 12 weeks.

Flexible appointments:
A greater flexibility of
appointment times at
the start of the treatment
journey for clients (e.g. Drop in
prescribing clinic supported
by volunteers/recovery

that Teams across Together are to recommence with 3 way strategy reviews i.e.
Prescriber, recover worker and service user to
be present either face to face or virtually. This
will provide a more collaborative treatment
package and reduce any misunderstandings.
It will also help develop a clearer understanding of what constitutes the commencement
or ceasing of the prescribing modality.

Agreed to set up a task and finish group to
review what our strategic prescribing reviews
should look like and make sure they achieve
the best outcomes for you. The group will
include prescribers, recovery workers, lived experience volunteers and service users. If you’d
like to be involved see below for details.

Some Prescribers have a
tendency to be authoritive
and don’t always seem to

Agree to include prescribing information in
the upcoming Service User handbook such as
3 way clinics and how to manage your prescription.

Clear communication
That in the main you felt that
as a service user you were
listened to and treatment
options were made clear
when entering the service.

Continue to complete urgent face to face
prescribing reviews in line with Covid 19 PPE


FOCUS: Young People and Young People Services:
Where has your feedback come from?
50 service users aged between 18 and 24 agreed to participate in a survey ascertaining if there was a need for Together to provide specific services to adults between
these ages. We also asked how their experiences had been during their treatment
journey with Together.
Young people focused groups:
A total of 49 service user’s out
of the 50 said that specific
groups for young adults would
be a good resource and that
they would attend groups of
that nature.
Understanding young people:
People of same age and
people who understand
young people was the general
response for what was most
The right help:
That contact with Together
was helpful citing 1:1 sessions
and group work being of
most value.

Medical interventions:
That the prescribing of
Methadone was of most
benefit while engaging with
Long waiting times:
That engaging with Together
was not as helpful as expected
and that waiting times along
with too many questions at
assessment to be frustrating.

We have been working over the past year to
design, develop and build a new way of working that better supports the transition into
adult services

We have, and will continue, to work together
with YSMART to support young adults.

• We have introduced dedicated Young
Adult Recovery Workers who will receive
specialist training to support this age
• We have introduced Young Adult Lead Volunteers across Devon and we have set up
a Young Adults Working group to take the
developments further.
• Examples of developments to come include setting up groups and Flourish cafes
for young adults, providing training to university welfare teams, and exploring online
options for support.
Young adults will receive a range of interventions that vary in intensity and duration according to their unique and changing needs,
including those around risk and building

Phone gifting review:
During COVID lockdown we were very aware that there was a high risk of
service users becoming socially isolated and losing contact with Healthcare
services. We identified some funding and were also gifted mobile telephones
from Tesco (thank you Tesco!) and subsequently distributed them among
Together service users at the highest need so that they could contact friends,
family, their GP and Recovery Workers.
We then completed a full review of the scheme and here’s just a bit of the
“So so pleased I have never heard of this happening and honestly I am so
grateful I’ve been doing exceptionally well I could not believe it”
“Really good made feel thought of by the service”
“I can now go online it is great”
“Really good because it was the only form of communication I had”
“I only used it once and that was to call an ambulance for a friend who had
gone over.”
A total of 84 phones were gifted to service users across the Devon Together
The overall response was that it was a great help during this difficult time and
any initial reservations about diversion of phones were unfounded and the
project overall is seen as a great success. The majority of those in receipt of a
phone stated that it was used to contact relatives or healthcare services.
We are hoping to look at funding opportunities to improve access to online
and digital platforms for all service users.


Community Development
At Together in Devon, and more widely at EDP, we want to build a service
that genuinely responds to the needs and wants of our community members
looking to make changes to their substance use. This means we need you to be
We have lots of different ways for you to get involved including attending
our Co-Production Meetings. Co-Production meetings are open to all
interested parties to attend - Service Users, staff, Volunteers, Peer Mentors and
Partnership Agencies. Using the feedback that comes from these meetings
will agree on actions to address any issues or suggested developments.
On the 1st Monday of each month from 1:30pm-3pm we host the ‘Action
Meeting’, this is a space that looks at local feedback in Devon and agrees
actions to make changes and develop the Together service.
On the 3rd Monday of each month from 11am-12:30pm we host the
‘Strategy Meeting’, this is a space to take a collaborative approach to in-depth
decisions within EDP as a whole. Examples include how we involve the voice of
lived experience in our recruitment processes, in staff inductions and training
and how we communicate with each other more effectively.
We asked service users attending who are participating in Co-Production
Meetings to give us their thoughts and experiences of Co-Production. In the
main “You Said” it was felt that having the opportunity to speak out and help
improve the EDP/Together Service via Co Production from “those on the
ground like service users and workers” is a very welcome development that
“feels inclusive and empowering”.
You expressed anxieties around hoping to receive feedback on what happens
to your input and that your views are taken seriously as in the past Service
Users views have been asked about their opinions on the service and freely
gave their views but never heard anything back. As a way of addressing these
concerns all minutes taken at the Co-Production meetings will be available
to Service Users, their carers and families along with partnership agencies.
Meetings will be held monthly and we will publish “You Said, We Did”
Ivi, a new 2021 Together Volunteer with lived experience and presently a
Mental Health Practioner, attends the Co-production meetings as part of his
Volunteering Role and commented “I wish we had something like this in our
service it really feels like this service is taking co-production seriously and that
voices are heard. I would like to continue with being involved in this exciting
and well needed venture”.


The next meeting dates are:
Co-Production Action Meeting 1:30pm – 3pm:
• 10th May (moved back a week due to May Bank Holiday)
• 7th June.
Meetings currently via Zoom using the meeting ID: 986 4128 2510
Co-Production Strategy Meeting 11am-12:30pm:
• 19th April
• 17th May
• 21st June.
Meetings currently via Zoom using the meeting ID: 912 0884 3204
All are welcome and we at Together would love to see you there! Speak to your
recovery worker, message us on Facebook or email or

What have we been up to?...
Spotlight on... Family Services

Activity packs for Families:
Funding through Active Devon and Sports England to create ‘Activity Packs’ for
families were donated at the beginning of lockdown in 2020.
Almost 50 boxes of fun activities such as a kites, fishing nets, bats, balls, bubbles,
bird watching and hedgerow wildlife sheets have been made up and are being
delivered as we speak by our Family Leads. Well done Family Leads - another
success story!


Harm Reduction:
Harm Reduction:
August 31st marked International Overdose Awareness Day and at Together we
shared lots of information about recognising the signs of overdose from different
Needle exchange and Harm Reduction:
substances. Getting familiar with the signs of overdoses and knowing how to
respond really can save someone’s life. Here’s a leaflet we created with some crucial
Needle Exchange help you save a from Magdelene House in Exeter
information that couldis still running life: If you want a printed version of the leaflet,
and Templar House in or would Abbot. We are hoping that contact us
want any more informationNewton like to get a naloxone kit, pleasefrom Aprilon
0800 233 5444 service from Barnstaple will resume hours to be an1st 2021 the or speak to your recovery worker.

nounced. If you visit these sights you will have to be PPE compliant

Also a reminder to everyone that Needle Exchange is still running from Magdelene
and wear a mask which we can provide onsite if needed.
House in Exeter and Templar House in Newton Abbot. We are working on re-opening
the service from Barnstaple. For East and Mid and North Devon, needle exchange can
For East and Mid and North Devon, needle exchange can be arbe arranged via pharmacies or directly with Recovery Workers. The confidential postranged via pharmacies or the whole of Devon and can be accessed by calling
al service is still available across directly with Recovery Workers.
07706 802948.

The confidential postal service is still available across the whole of
Devon and can be accessed by calling 07706 802948.

Devon and Cornwall Fire Service Home Safety:
We continue to work in partnership with local fire services who offer
free home visits (COVID permitting) for assessing risk of fire hazards.
Below is the link of the new Home Safety video which really very informative.
For more information contact
or Sallie McKay-Roper


Groups & Support:
A brand new feature from Sarah has commenced for those who feel that they may enjoy participating in a prayer group. See below for details.


Breaking Free Online:

Breaking Free Online is an really great evidence-based digital treatment and recovery
programme that allows service users to recognise and address the psychological and
lifestyle issues that are driving their use of alcohol and/or drugs.
The programme provides a wide-ranging menu of coping skills and practical support
to facilitate long-term recovery. Breaking Free Online is designed to be interactive,
engaging and tailored to each service uses special requirements. It combines psychological therapies such as mindfulness, relapse prevention, motivational enhancement, harm reduction and cognitive behavioural approaches. You can use the programme confidentially or link with your Recovery Worker.
Service users can access the programme 24 hours a day 7 days a week on any internet-enabled device, such as a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
To create a Breaking Free Online account, all you need to do is:
1. Visit
Use the access code: devon11 and then complete the required fields.


Flourish in Nature
Flourish in Nature is a three year project funded by Sporting England and is a partnership between Together/EDP, Devon Wildlife
Trust, Plymouth University and Active Devon.

In this edition:

It is an opportunity for those who are in stable recovery with lived experience of
addiction problems in conjunction with mental health issues to become Activity
Leaders. Training for this role is provided by Devon Wildlife Trust and Together/
EDP. The Activity Leaders will provide physical activities such as Tai Chi, rambling/
walking, cycling and other outdoor events or courses, and will facilitate access to
these activities for people who are still in active recovery.
Initially Flourish in Nature focused on South Devon but has now been rolled out in
North Devon with a Countryside and river walk along the Tarka trail from Fremington to Yelland and back. By combining the great outdoors and educational walks
it is hope that those in recovery can develop confidence, life skills and continue
along their recovery journey.
Lots of future activities are planned so if you’d like to join us for an adventure or are
interested in becoming an Activity lead please contact:
Lynne Cirasuolo
or Phoebe Parker
or call/text: 07825659234

Write to Freedom
Write to Freedom, one of our Partnership Agencies, have released their 2021 Calendar
with events and activities taking place throughout Devon.
They provide support via mentoring, personal story telling, self-empowerment and
wilderness experiences for those who are in recovery from the trauma caused by
problematic substance use.
Why not visit their website
They have a variety of resources and activities including the Covid friendly online
retreat programme which is a weekend long experience, led by people with many
decades of combined recovery. It is a journey into how creativity, nature connection,
and mindfulness can support a vibrant and life-long recovery from addiction.
For all details go to - .
You can also
Alternatively ask a member of the Together Team that you are in touch with.


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