Portsmouth wins £249k for alcohol support

Portsmouth City Council and the Society of St James (SSJ) have successfully won £249k funding from Public Health England to create a new Alcohol Treatment Centre (ATC) in the city and improve treatment for alcohol dependent residents in Portsmouth.

The money, alongside match funding from SSJ, will be used to purchase an easily accessible venue to offer treatment and recovery accommodation. The bid was submitted in recognition that the current integrated substance misuse treatment offer in the city is not the right environment for many residents experiencing alcohol dependency as most clients attending are entrenched drug-users. The ATC will be a front door for all alcohol focussed work with adults and through having a single focus it will enable a higher level of tailored support unique to client needs.

The ATC will have an alcohol support and outreach team of 11 staff and will aim to:

  • Reduce the gap between people needing support and those receiving treatment
  • Maintain the successful treatment completion rates and look to achieve above the England average.
  • Increase the number of high-risk individuals accessing treatment e.g. those who are street homeless

The centre will provide accommodation for 3 vulnerable adults in recovery at any one time. It will also offer alcohol specific group-work, one-to-one and family counselling, carer support groups and peer recovery activities, including sports therapy, in the evenings and weekends. During the creation of the new centre, consultation will be held with alcohol dependent adults, both those in treatment and not, to ensure that the centre is designed to maximise the numbers accessing support and completing treatment

The ATC is looking to be recognised as a centre of excellence and will host alcohol-specific professional training and conferences as well as having partner agencies delivering regular clinics.

It’s envisaged that the centre will be operational from August 2019.

This funding follows the £500k secured from Public Health England in December 2018 to create the Family Support Service in Portsmouth, which helps families affected by alcohol, and adds additional value to the well-established, integrated substance misuse and housing service. This service currently consists of a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Hub, Day Rehabilitation Centre and 59 bed-spaces across 6 shared houses.

Dr Jason Horsley, Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council, said; “We know that some residents dependent on alcohol weren’t accessing treatment as they didn’t want to treated alongside drug users. They wanted their own ‘safe space’. The support needs of drug users and those dependent on alcohol are also different and with an integrated offer it was difficult to offer tailored support. I’m thrilled that we’ve won the funds to create the Alcohol Treatment Centre which will address these issues.

“The ATC will work with individuals to meet their own goals which can range from safer drinking to reduced drinking to quitting altogether. It will be designed in consultation with the people it wants to support to ensure that there are no barriers to them accessing or successfully completing treatment.

“I’m excited for Portsmouth to be on its way towards having a centre of excellence for alcohol treatment.”