WHO AM I?
I am Kay, a Contract Monitoring Officer working for Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), within Public Health and Wellbeing.
JUST A BIT OF BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The funding for The Bridge is provided by NCC, Public Health and Wellbeing and therefore there are some things that have to checked up on to make sure this money is spent appropriately and on the things which are written in The Bridge's contract; Things like health and safety, staffing levels, staff training, policies and procedures, accessibility (making sure all people know they can come to The Bridge if they need support) and what goes on day to day.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?:
Last month I met with the senior team, which I do on a regular basis to discuss progress/issues. During this meeting both Ian Fulton, NCC commissioner, and I praised The Bridge's website as it is always kept up to date and is very informative. We felt it would be good to have a section showing positive comments received from members. However, we quickly concluded, the senior team are far too modest and are not comfortable in "blowing their own trumpet". Therefore I wanted to do it as I feel it is more than justified!
WHAT ARE THE GOOD BITS?:
If I was looking at the website as someone thinking about contacting The Bridge for support I think I would take comfort from knowing The Bridge is considered by its current members to be "friendly and welcoming, is good for meeting people, has lots of activities, will provide me with support, is a place to make new friends and will not be not judgemental". I think this would encourage me to take that bold next step and make a call or walk through the door, however daunting that may be and how nervous I may be feeling.
Another "hidden fact", which is; Every person who arrived for an induction in the last 6 months, a total of 276, all but 1 became an active member of The Bridge. That is really something to celebrate and full credit needs to be given to the staff, peer mentors and volunteers involved and to existing members who have extended a friendly and welcoming greeting.
WHAT CURRENT MEMBERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THEIR FIRST EXPERIENCE:
Of the 43 members who completed a feedback form for me this time, 33 stated their first experience of The Bridge was "okay", "good", "very good" through to "excellent" and their additional comments included:
The remainder used the words "daunting", "scary" and "nervous" to describe their first experience. Any new experience can be all of these things. However overall they found it to be a positive experience - "Scary but okay", "scary but everyone was friendly and welcoming", "I was nervous, but very they were friendly". If I were reading this on the website and was unsure if I should make that call or take that step through the door I would focus on the positive comments - the support is there for you. 275 people can't be wrong!
WHAT GOES ON THERE?:
Members have always made positive comments about the wide range of activities they can, if they want, choose from - see report below for examples or Bridge timetables on the website. However it is evident that members attend The Bridge not just to participate in activities as many have made comments about using the service to simply talk to other people, to gain support or give support to others - "Helping other people, trying to give a little back", to socialise, to receive 1:1 support, to volunteer and to access other support on offer such as AA meetings, Job Club and housing advice.
WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS ABOUT THE BRIDGE?:
Members have told me the following information:
There is so much on offer at The Bridge and this is the perfect opportunity to say a BIG thank you to those who make this all possible. Thank you to all the staff, peer mentors and volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure The Bridge is there to support members and hopefully anyone else who wants to take that next step.
THE FULL REPORT..............
Click here to download the full report.
Contract Monitoring Officer
10th July 2017
Bridge Substance Misuse Programme Ltd is a Social Enterprise, company registered number 06221493. Registered office 63c Gold Street, Northampton, NN1 1RA.