“IN ANY CONTEST BETWEEN POWER AND PATIENCE, BET ON PATIENCE.”
BOB VOLUNTEER TRAINING
Although we are a service user organisation, BoB believes strongly in the value of training. We learned the hard way in the earliest days of our existence that it is impossible to run a busy drop-in without it. Over the past few years we have worked hard to write a very specific set of in-house training workshops, designed to teach service user volunteers how to work safely, professionally and in a manner that supports their fellow service users in looking at ways of dealing with their substance use issues and moving forward in their individual journeys of recovery.
These workshops have been written to walk the fine line between being professional and also service user friendly. After all, training is of little use if no one understands it! We know they work, not only because we run one of the busiest drop-in’s in London weekend after weekend, but because many of our volunteers have moved on to paid jobs in the field, in large part because of their experiences with us. Whatever your educational background or previous experience in the drugs and alcohol field our workshops are suitable for you.
Of late we have added new workshops that move away from the skills needed to work in the drugs and alcohol field, but focus instead on recovery from addiction. Our workshops are delivered around thirty times a year and are free to access for our volunteers.
These workshops are also available for purchase by service providers or other service user organisations – please find out more in the Resources section of this site.
Current workshops include:
VOLUNTEER INDUCTION TRAINING
This workshop gives the volunteer a clear idea of the services we offer and the roles they will be asked to undertake in the Social Club. The training needed to undertake certain roles (Needle Exchange Operations for instance) will be discussed, as will the structure and ethos of the Social Club. The new volunteer will be guided through the handbook and the more important areas will be examined and explained. Potential mentoring needs will be looked at for their first few shifts, and there will be a question and answer session.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT
The basis of good communication is often not what you say but how you say it. This workshop looks at body language, use of terminology, listening skills, listening blocks, and the difference between support, key-working and counselling. It is intended to help the volunteer communicate with service users in a clear, calm and safe fashion. It involves developingawareness around the culture, background and circumstance of the individuals one may be working with, and looks at the boundaries needed for good communication and support.
DEALING WITH AGGRESSIVE AND INTIMIDATING BEHAVIOUR
It would be dishonest and a little foolish to pretend that difficult and intimidating behaviour does not occur in a drop-in. When people are struggling with substance use issues and life is difficult, then anger is often the first emotional response to a great many situations. This workshop helps volunteers to look at some of the reasons that might lie behind such behaviour, and examines methods of dealing with such situations. It also looks at the policies and procedures in place to ensure that any problems which might arise are dealt with in a safe and reasonable manner.
HOW TO UNDERTAKE REFERRALS AND ASSESSMENTS
Perhaps uniquely for a service user group the BoB refers services users into structured treatment. This workshop looks at the skills needed to undertake a detailed initial assessment of a service user, concentrating on the fact that this is a first point of contact for many individuals and that positive experience here can play a vital role in ensuring that an individual continues with their treatment journey. How do you ask a difficult question? What is the minimum information required and what can you side step? How do you ensure that the service user leaves feeling positive, supported and motivated to take the next step? What information will you be expected to provide? What are the rules around confidentiality? A detailed and tricky workshop, volunteers are encouraged to undertake this more than once.
THE PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT FOR REFERRALS TEST
When a volunteer has done the Referral and Assessment Workshop and feels confident in their learning, they are required to pass a practical test with the Service User Coordinator before being allowed to assess a service user. This is a deliberately stiff test and it is rare that anyone passes the first time. We believe that assessments are extremely important as a first point of contact with the treatment system and insist on an exceptional level of competence, empathy and knowledge of the local treatment system.
POLY DRUG USE AND HARM MINIMISATION
The SUDRG survey of October 2010 demonstrated that everyone accessing our weekend service who was still using drugs was a poly-drug user. These days the multiple use of substances is the normal (alcohol being the obvious exception) rather than the use of a single substance. This workshop looks at common poly drug use combinations and examines the health risks as well as the psychological effects. It explores the potential for harm minimisation with poly-drug use, and explores some of the more dangerous combinations, in order to allow volunteers to give accurate and timely advice to service users.
A LOOK AT DUAL DIAGNOSIS
Again, the SUDRG survey of 2010 showed that 43% of the service users accessing the weekend service were taking medication for mental health issues, ranging from depression to paranoid schizophrenia. This workshop looks at the nature of dual diagnosis, focusing in part on the difference between underlying mental health issues and those that are the result of drug use. We look at the most common forms of diagnosis, and examine not only the behavioural and communication difficulties that can arise with dual diagnosis, but also the effects of the medication prescribed to manage it. The workshop also looks at some of the problems that can arise when giving advice and support to an individual with a dual diagnosis.
This workshop focuses on the physical and mental problems related to alcohol use. It looks at how alcohol affects men and women differently, as well as the role alcohol plays in poly-drug use and cross addiction. It examines the multitude of problems that come with physical alcohol dependency and the appropriate advice to give to such individuals. The role alcohol plays in society and the potential risks of drinking for individuals in recovery from drug addiction are also discussed.
This workshop looks at the history of cocaine and the rise of crack cocaine. It examines the physical and psychological effects of crack use, and some of harm minimisation techniques that can be used to help someone deal with their use of this substance.
WHICH DRUGS DO WHAT!
It is easy to focus on heroin and crack cocaine as problematic drugs and ignore the multitude of other substances that often cause problems with addiction and commonly feature in people’s poly-drug use. This workshop looks at eighteen substances, all of which were identified by our service users as being currently used (including GHB, Ketamine, Valium, Dexedrine, Cannabis) and examines their effects, health risks and methods of use.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Like any organisation we need to comply with Health and Safety regulations and ensure that we meet our statutory requirements in this area. This workshop is intended to inform volunteers of their obligations to ensure that the working environment is a safe place for both themselves and those individuals accessing the service. It also looks at the procedures for dealing with any risks or problems that might occur in the working environment, and the appropriate means of dealing with them.
NEEDLE EXCHANGE OPERATIONS
A necessarily complex and two part training workshop that looks at every aspect of N/X operations. Which needles and barrels are used to inject which drugs? How do you inject safely? What are the health risks involved? What substances might an individual be taking? Are they mixing substances? What are the risks and how can they be minimised? What are injecting injuries? Where is it safe to inject and where is it not? How do you assess and individual who accesses a Needle Exchange? Why do people inject and what are the alternatives? This workshop allows volunteers to become skilled at working in a Needle Exchange – when they have passed the practical test below.
NEEDLE EXCHANGE PRACTICAL TEST
BoB believes in a high standard of work and has confidence that it’s’ volunteers can achieve this. Nevertheless, we don’t just rely on the training – we ask them to undertake a practical test as well! When a volunteer has done the Needle Exchange Workshop and feels confident in their learning, they are required to pass a practical test with the Chief Operations Officer before being allowed to assess a service user. This is a deliberately stiff test and it is rare that anyone passes the first time. We believe that a first point of contact with the treatment system can be crucial for the individual involved and insist on an exceptional level of competence, empathy and knowledge from anyone working in a needle exchange.
POVA AND CHILD PROTECTION
Clearly it is important when running a drop-in that volunteers have an understanding of safe guarding both for adults and children. This workshop explains what to look for in behaviour and physical appearance that might indict a safe guarding issue, and explains the necessary steps in dealing with and reporting such an issue. We also include a range of scenario’s intended to explore the difference between an individual’s right to live as they choose and circumstances where they are clearly at risk of harm or exploitation.
BOUNDARIES AND CONFIDENTIALITY
This is one of the few workshops that’s considered compulsory for volunteers. For service users undertaking volunteering roles the difference between personal boundaries and professional boundaries is important to understand, as is the fact that there is no such thing as complete confidentiality since there are circumstances under which the law requires that it be broken. This workshop explores these issues.
SUPERVISING YOUR PEERS
Support is as important for volunteers as it is for the service users accessing our services, and we do our best to ensure that everyone receives regular supervision, which is quite a challenge when you have more than eighty volunteers! Consequently, we teach our Shadow Team Leaders and Team Leaders to supervise their peers in a safe and supportive fashion. We examine the reasons for supervision, the necessity of actions points, and the importance of encouraging people to strive for their goals, and how appropriate support mechanisms can be offered to volunteers who are struggling either in their role or with their recovery.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY IN RECOVERY
This is the first of our Recovery Workshops, intended not to help volunteers work effectively in the Social Club(s) but to examine their own lives and recovery and look at a range of ideas for moving forward and improving their lives. As a socially based organisation we believe that creative practice can have a huge impact on anyone’s live, and this workshop looks at how creativity in anything can not only improve the quality of life, but often lead to unexpected opportunities in the world at large.
HOW TO PRESENT A RECOVERY CHAIR
BoB has taken the idea of a ‘Twelve Step Chair’ and given it a twist by structuring the way it is presented and encouraging a question and answer session afterwards. This is intended to allow individuals to share the story of their recovery, focusing on how they dealt with their substance use issue and undertook the process of rebuilding their life afterward. It is facilitated in such a way that the group learn from each other’s experience and share those ideas and activities that were successful in helping them move forwards.
SURVIVING THE TWELVE STEPS (Coming Soon)
MULTIPLE ROADS TO RECOVERY (Coming Soon)
THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED IN RECOVERY (Coming Soon)