Head of Operations at Good Shepherd, Tom Hayden, reflects on Recovery Month, our new centre and his vision for Good Shepherd…
Recovery Month has always been important to me personally and professionally. It’s a time to reflect on our personal journeys and come together as a community to celebrate people’s achievements. It’s also a time for us to remember those we’ve lost along the way.
Recovery based approaches have been around in Mental Health for a long time and in 2009 the addiction community in the UK held the first annual recovery walk in Liverpool. The walk was organised to celebrate recovery and to show people in active addiction and the wider community that people can and do recover. It’s also an opportunity for family members and loved ones that have been affected by addiction to be a part of the solution and come together to share their experiences.
The first walk I attended was in 2013 and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people that shut down Birmingham city centre. Thousands of people marched through the streets in solidarity, proud to be in recovery or supporters of the movement. This was followed by a huge party in the park to celebrate. Too often we see the negative face of addiction and mental health, but September is a time for us to focus on the positives and carry a message of hope to people still suffering.
During my time managing the Good Shepherd, we’ve been developing our services and bringing a recovery ethos to the way we work. The Good Shepherd has always heavily involved people with lived experience in the delivery of our services and we believe in the power of building positive connections with other people and having a sense of purpose and belonging. We work with some of the most excluded and disadvantaged people in the community, but we always believe in their ability to change and their personal strengths and skills.
Our new centre opposite the Molineux Stadium provides a space and services that support and sustain people’s recovery from homelessness, addiction and poor mental health.
The Good Shepherd centre has a dedicated training room where we offer on-site training courses and employability support for our service users. We provide clinical space and counselling rooms within the building so people using our services can access specialist health and wellbeing care to improve their physical and mental health. The new building supports people from homelessness into temporary accommodation while also meeting their health needs and providing opportunities to use their strengths, gain skills, knowledge and employment.
Our overall vision is to end homelessness in Wolverhampton and create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and poverty, but we can’t do this alone. The new centre has a multi-agency hub where our partners Enterprise Homes Group, SUIT, Wolverhampton Homes, Refugee and Migrant Centre, P3 and Changing Lives can come in and deliver services.
This new centre was an ambitious step for the Good Shepherd, Wolverhampton as a city and most importantly for the people that need our services. Addiction leads to isolation, disconnection and hopelessness but positive relationships, connection and belief leads to recovery. That’s our goal for everyone that comes to the Good Shepherd.