Sunday, 27 March 2011
UK Recovery Federation Update 17/11/2010
It’s been a while since we’ve put anything up on the UKRF page here at Wired In. This has principally been because we’ve been pretty busy.
Following our National Conference in May we focused primarily on the promotion and support of the 2nd National Recovery Walk which took place on the 25th of September. Since then we’ve released our amended UKRFRecovery Principles, also see below, and responded to the Coalition Government’s consultation on the impending new Drug Strategy.
Following the UKRF/NTA North-West Conference on the 9th of September we’ve been working on a 3-year Mission Plan and Business Plan for theUKRF, begun work on ‘Outreach Packs’ that will support the development of a nationwide advocacy network and focused particularly on the development of a new UKRF Advisory Board.
We believe this Board, made up of people from recovery communities, Recovery-focused services and Recovery allies from the harm reduction sector, will reflect the diversity of people committed to progressive Recovery in the UK and enable the UKRF to build an effective and inclusive Federation.
There are been many blogs on Wired In in recent months that have stressed the need to build from a shared commitment to the empowerment of recovering and recovered people, to focus on our similarities as human beings and to build from our strengths.
The UKRF, in line with its Recovery Principles and its commitment to asset based community development, will always focus on the strengths that exist within diverse communities, the promotion of dialogue and the generation of new alliances/friendships.
Recovery, as the UKRF understands it, is about recognising our connectedness as human beings and challenging traditional notions of power/hierarchies. In the creation of the UKRF Advisory Board we have taken concrete action. It is our intention that this action will play a part in addressing some of the entrenched polarisation that exists within services and communities in the UK.
The UKRF has also been active in a number of other areas. We have begun work with people in Recovery and Recovery allies in the South East of England to develop a ‘Recovery Network’ which will cover 18 localities within the South East.
A South-East event will be held early next year in Portsmouth, facilitated by the UKRF and Recovery activists from within the region. Further events will take place in other localities within the South East and we are looking at supporting Recovery activists in establishing the South-East Recovery Network as a Community Interest Company (a Social Enterprise where all profit goes to the community).
This Company will aim to ensure that the South East Recovery Network is self-financing, independent and equipped to support locality ‘Recovery Networks’ and recovery-focused initiatives.
To support the development of Recovery Networks across the UK the UKRFhas been engaging with a number of potential seeding funders and early indicators look promising. We are also researching opportunities (and making new contacts) that might be available through Social Finance and wider funding bodies, particularly in the context of the current government’s focus on the Big Society.
The UKRF is engaged in a significant piece of work within the Eastern Region of the UK. A meeting is due to take place with Recovery activists, drawn from the ten Eastern region localities, (following an earlier meeting in Cambridge on the 2nd of Nov) on the 30th of November to begin work on the development of an Eastern regional Recovery Network.
Locality Recovery Networks will sit within this regional network and the UKRFhopes to undertake focused pieces of work in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire , Norfolk and other Eastern localities which will support, practically and financially, the development of the networks. We will again be looking at the development of new social enterprise models.
The UKRF has been working on the development of links with the East Midlands. We are working in partnership with a Tier 4 provider, recovering people and people in recovery to explore how Recovery Communities can play a key role in the development of recovery oriented standards for rehabs.
This project, currently being planned, will kick off in January 2011. The UKRFbelieves that the development of this project will lead to the enhancing of recovery capital within communities, significant development within Tier 4 and also generate funding for Recovery Networks and recovery-focused initiatives.
The UKRF notes the development of the North-West Recovery Federations. Whilst we have not been involved in this work, “formalish discussions about the UKRF and NTA” having being ‘parked’ by the NTA on the 17th of October, we are happy to support these Federations in any way we can.
There has been a suggestion that the North-West Recovery Federations might align with the UKRF in the future. We would welcome dialogue with those involved within the new ‘Federations’, if this is a direction that people wish to pursue, and to facilitate this process we have detailed the aims of the UKRFbelow:
1. To promote the UKRF Recovery principles and support the development of a UK Recovery Movement that reflects regional diversity
2. To give a voice to recovering people and people in recovery
3. To support individuals, groups, organisations and communities in the development of their ‘Recovery Capital’
4. To promote & support diverse and effective community-focused recovery models and practice
5. To support community-focused organisations and groups in the delivery of recovery-oriented services
The UKRF believes that the development of Recovery Networks requires resources and has recently engaged with a number of recovery-oriented Social Enterprises in Lancashire to discuss how they might support community-led recovery initiatives.
We are close to developing what we believe might be an effective ‘business model’ and are hopeful that funding will be generated through innovative entrepreneurial activity. Whilst engaging in this work we have also been working with Recovery activists in Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn and Merseyside to support them in ‘bottom-up’ community action.
To support this work we have engaged with the wider North-West Community Development Strategy and a number of very experienced community development activists. We believe that a Lancashire Recovery Network (indeed all networks) needs to be inclusive, diverse, independent and committed to the promotion of social justice values and there is much to learn from the long history of community development in the UK and the mental health Recovery Movement.
It is the UKRF view that all of our work should be ‘values driven’ and we have spent a considerable amount of time engaging with others around the UKRFPrinciples. This has led to considerable interest from a wide variety of individuals and organisations. We attach them again below.
The UKRF Recovery Principles
Recovery lies within individuals and communities and is self directed and empowering.
Recovery lies within our ‘connectedness’ to others, is holistic and has many cultural dimensions.
Recovery is supported by peers and allies within communities.
Recovery involves the personal, cultural and structural recognition of the need for participative change, transformation and the building of recovery capital.
Recovery involves a continual process of change and self-redefinition for individuals, organisations and communities.
Recovery challenges all discrimination and transcends shame and stigma.
Recovery emerges from hope, gratitude, love and service to others.
There are many pathways to Recovery and no individual, community or organisation has the right to claim ownership of the ‘right pathway.’
Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and well-being.
Recovery transcends, whilst embracing, harm reduction and abstinence based approaches and does not seek to be prescriptive.
Honesty, self-awareness and openness lie at the heart of Recovery.
Recovery is a reality.
At the end of this year, having laid the foundations, we will begin to focus on the development of the UKRF as a membership organisation. We intend to develop a network of UKRF regional representatives (we are on the way) and will be encouraging the active involvement of all recovery-focused individuals, groups and organisations who are happy to sign up to the UKRF Recovery Principles.
We are not interested in hierarchies and division. The UKRF is committed to ‘Recovery’, social justice, the challenging of stigma and discrimination and to the support of empowering community-led action.
We make the path by walking it.