Time Credits: Supporting the recovery journey

In late September, over 200 people took to the streets of North London for the Haringey Recovery Walk and Recovery Pride festival, two events to highlight and support the journey that many individuals undertake to overcome addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The Recovery Walk was organised by Haringey Recovery Service, a partnership involving homeless charity St Mungo’s and a number of other community groups, and forms part of a global series of events held in September for International Recovery Month.

The Recovery Walk was a 5 mile stretch and the route is hinged upon the local hubs that form part of the recovery service in Haringey. Part of the message of the Recovery Walk, and that of Recovery Month more broadly, is that recovery is grounded in communities, and is a collective process. Whether as a peer, a mentor, a service worker or a volunteer, we all have something to contribute. By contributing we become part of our communities and gain self worth, confidence and community support that helps keeps us well, a key element of sustaining recovery.

Many of those that took part in the Recovery Walk and Pride also participate in our Haringey Time Credits programme, which works in partnership with substance misuse services and community organisations to engage individuals in opportunities to contribute that support their recovery. Haringey Time Credits is an example of a Time Credits programme where the currency has been deeply embedded in services. We work through local services and community organisations, enabling service users to increasingly coproduce services and become involved in community activity as part of their recovery, as well as access opportunities through spending Time Credits that support wellbeing such as physical activity, learning and leisure .

Since we began working with Haringey Council in 2014, we have built working relationships with individuals and community organisations across the borough, to engage more than 400 individuals in contributing over 17,000 hours of their time through 21 local groups and services. From the 2017 impact evaluation of the Haringey Time Credits substance use programme, we found that of those that contributed to our survey:

  • 78% told us they felt more able to contribute to their community and peers
  • 20% have helped to shape and improve local health and care services
  • 65% feel more positive about their future

For people like M that participate in Haringey Time Credits, involvement with Time Credits meant that her skills and interest in pottery were recognised and she was able to make use of a disused pottery kiln in the recovery service. M began holding pottery classes for others in the recovery service to attend, paying for the class with Time Credits. M subsequently rented studio space in Haringey, again via Time Credits, to build up her wares to enable her to sell at local markets and stalls, building up her confidence in the process.

The success and body of learning gained from the co-design and delivery of this programme  has led to Time Credits increasingly being commissioned to work with substance misuse services. We recently launched a programme working across Cardiff & Vale, and new Time Credits programmes supporting substance misuse recovery are soon to launch in Gwent, Wales, and Cornwall, South West England.

If you are interested in finding out more about how we work with substance misuse services, contact Jude Luckett, Head of Development, jude@justaddspice.org 07446410377