For our mentoring programme, we recruit, train and supervise volunteers who have had drug or alcohol problems themselves, or close contact with people who have. They act as mentors or support workers to clients with drug or alcohol problems. The aim is to help Bridge members deal with their substance misuse by providing practical support in relation to social aspects which impact negatively on their lives.
As well as offering members the opportunity to engage with a mentor, we have developed, and constantly review, a programme of physical and other activities that are available to members.
In addition, we offer members assistance with education, training and/or employment and housing issues. Members can benefit from all the services Bridge provides or choose those that would be most beneficial (either alongside or independent of a mentoring relationship).
Members must be at least 18 years of age and have, or have had, a problem with alcohol or drugs. They will also have some motivation to control, reduce or cease their drug/alcohol use and benefit from the support and encouragement of volunteers who have direct experience. Volunteers are trained for their role and fill an important and sensitive position.
WHAT WE BELIEVE:
This project is based on several ideas:
- We believe that people who have experienced substance misuse problems have a role to play in helping others. Their experience and understanding should not be wasted when it can be used to support people trying to recover from their own substance misuse.
- We believe that the experience and learning that mentors gain should be a valuable aid to them in their personal or career development.
- We believe that peer support is a useful addition to other interventions and not necessarily a replacement for them.
- We do not believe that any particular approach to helping people is better or worse than others.
- We believe that recovery is something that people do themselves. We will do our best to help but we do not take responsibility for the outcome whatever that may be.
- We believe that physical and other activities can be a useful aid to recovery.
- We believe that other organisations and individuals are doing valuable work in this field and we wish to work with them whenever appropriate.
WHAT OUR MEMBER’S SAY:
“The help I have received from Bridge has made me want to help others, and my next goal is to become a mentor for Bridge. I feel the support and non-judgemental approach is what made me feel comfortable. The staff are easy to approach, we can share problems and I feel liked for me, not just because I am a member – another statistic.”
“The welcome I get every time I come in is great. Everybody says good morning and asks how I am; it makes me feel ‘Part of the team’. I have been a member at Bridge for one year and feel Bridge will always be here for me. It has helped me to build a support network.”