"My experience of trying to regain life direction and seek opportunities"

About: Addiction Dependency Solutions / Trafford Bridging the Gap

(as a service user),

My experience so far of Bridgeing The Gap (BTG) - yes I'm a service user, but my primary care under ADS. Encouraged to go to BTG, I believed ADS, why would I not! ? I've no confidence, self belief and am definitely lacking skills for employment. I was told that BTG would help me in gaining employment skills and much more. Sadly it didn't deliver.

I myself an ex substance misuser - you name it, I've taken, ingested, injected everything. Now, I'm not even on a substitute of anykind now. But BTG isn't what's helped me. If anything it has been more help in making me leave my home and socialize and, yes I've made freinds!

I think that BTG is too focused on alcohol users, too generic in what is assumed by the 'teacher', who talks about being inclusive to us 'students', but I don't feel it acts or practices the language of inclusion to the students.

It's not a personal issue, I'm deeply dissapointed at BTG. For me, it's not delivered a single jot. I myself, entirely, have had to sort, educate, learn, observe, did everything, still am too, entirely myself, helping myself skills, volunteering etc. Volunteering was promised to us all, many have grumbled about the total lack of direction as promised by our teacher. I've listened and helped my fellow students, in pointing or suggesting for any direction, for their futures.

I feel there are too many flaws with BTG, it's kept simple and generic for the ones who 'teach' but in reality, I found there to be no real depth of anykind, in the futures, hopes, dreams, skills, employment hopes and so much more, that many a human being needs, requires, to ever go forward to gain an education or employment. It felt stale to me.

I feel my opinion and thoughts were not heard, listened to, but also, many a student is still using narcotics, whilst others are routinely still drinking alcohol! I m confused that, these ladies and gentlemen are turned a blind eye to, whilst the ones who keep clean and really WANT life direction etc are left to flounder.

I would like people to listen and learn from each other, and help each other, share your knowledge and very real skills amongst yourselves as I do believe and have learnt that BTG didn't help me, I did and am doing it ALL myself, I felt throughout and still do, that BTG was keeping people in employment.

What should replace it? Ideally, new ideas, also real results of previous service users who have now remained clean and in employment, life etc, an education, the real stuff.

What of the more mature in age service users? The service users, who are the majority? The service users that are clean, but lost in direction? What is going on? Good luck people, don't give up, as I havn't. I didn't need to experience BTG, nothing gained.

As for my volunteering opportunities, I researched, applied for, sorted my own referees, college course applied for in becoming an electrician. All entirely on my own. Just wish I'd done it sooner, rather than go on BTG.

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Response from Debbie Nash, Trafford DAAT

I am sorry that you did not feel the benefit from BtG that you had hoped. I hear what you are saying and will look at alternative services to provide a wider choice for people wishing to gain the skills you discussed. I am also surprised that you were not referred to Phoenix Aftercare Services, they have a variety of options for people wishing to take a recovery journey that includes building of self esteem and confidence. Their Conservation course encourages recovery through nature and is a real confidence booster but again is not for everyone. Your article suggests to me that you are a resourceful and resilient person to have made your own way through the maze of volunteering and learning is truly an excellent skill. I am sure you will continue to Recover - and perhaps, if you are not a member already, could be a significant member of TARGET. Best wishes.

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Response from Sarah Chilton, Director of Engagement, Addiction Dependency Solutions

I am very sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your experience whilst on Bridging the Gap. At ADS we take very seriously service user involvement and feedback and therefore integral to all our BTG is feedback after each session so that we can continue to develop the course to meet the student needs. It would seem from your comments you did not feel able to raise your concerns about your experience and individual needs whilst on the course. As the Director with overall responsibility for BtG across ADS I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss in more detail your experience and areas where you think we can improve. You can contact me direct through ADS Head Office on 0161 831 2400.

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Update posted by shepherd (a service user)

Thankyou Sarah Chilton, I had not intended to provoke any response ever, but reading you message in its perceptiveness, I will respond to you further, but feel unable to, at any moment and time, as I feel there is a witchunt going on, and on going too, unfortunately.