Each year, we send a letter to the Halifax Courier asking them to thank the people of Calderdale for their support throughout the previous year. Here is a copy of the letter for 2016:
Thanks to your continued support over the years, our success in Calderdale has been recognised at a national level. We are now part of an overall integrated system of care in Calderdale – Calderdale Recovery Steps, and this past year we were able to extend our services into Kirklees through two new hubs in Huddersfield and Dewsbury. There are now more local opportunities than ever for people to get help with addictions. Our structured recovery programmes now run comprehensively across five sites with well over 500 people attending to address their alcohol and drug issues. Around 300 people so far have become abstinent as a result of their engagement. We have, and continue to create pathways for people recovering to further themselves through education, employment and training both in our organisation and through the networks we have developed across our communities.
Our networking and community engagement also helps us to facilitate meaningful activities. It not only helps the individuals involved but also helps to reduce the stigma associated with addiction. We have been involved in many activities across Calderdale and beyond, including fundraising for the Forget Me Not Hospice and Andy’s Man Club. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem every year, but many are made to feel worthless or isolated. We are especially pleased that this year has seen the start of Andy’s Man Club, recognition of the issues facing young men in particular, who struggle to find a safe space to express their feelings or ask for help when struggling with mental health issues. For some, this is where alcohol and drugs are picked up as a way of masking the real issues. The support groups will be a real asset to Calderdale and we hope they get the support they need to develop.
Most years, I speak generally about issues facing the people we serve, however, this year I feel it’s pertinent to talk about how behaviours affect us all, and how we can use this opportunity of a New Year to improve our own lives and those of our communities. 90% of medical problems don’t have a medical solution yet, GPs have long waiting times and hospitals are full. Type 2 diabetes alone, threatens to bankrupt the NHS. Have a look around at the numbers of people in Calderdale who are obese, smoking, drinking and taking drugs. All of these problems have one thing in common; they are a result of what we do to ourselves. They are a direct result of our behaviours. We are eating, drinking, smoking and drugging ourselves to amputations and early deaths. The medications we get from the doctors are mere sticking plasters trying to cover gaping, self-inflicted wounds. The solution is to change our behaviours to eat, drink and smoke less and to encourage healthier lifestyles. The Basement Recovery Project, alongside many other organisations in Calderdale are experts in helping people to take more control of their own health, so we have a solution, please come and join us. Do not be alone with your problems at Christmas or at any time.
Best wishes to everyone for a safe & happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year ahead.
Michelle Foster, CEO, TBRP
Published in the Halifax Courier.