The Time To Recover programme provides therapeutic work placements for people with dependency backgrounds in areas such as retail sales, store management, van driving, driver’s mate, warehouse operatives, furniture restoration, administration, office management, and e-commerce. Participants works between 1 to 5 days a week for a period ranging from 3 to 9 months.
This programme is NOT A STANDARD VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT TRAINING PROGRAMME. At the Time To Recover programme, the emphasis is not on work training or work experience but on breaking down physiological barriers, changing behaviours, and challenging mind-sets. Successful completion of this programme will then allow individuals to engage with work placement, training and employment services with much more success.
During their time at Compass Project our members start to address issues of confidence and self-esteem by slowly changing values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours through experienced-based learning. This is achieved when they allow themselves to experience, in a drug free/sober state, what actually happens when confronted with challenging work situations and interactions with the wider community. They are able to undertake this journey because they are immersed in a unique environment of shared personal experience – a shared past of addiction and offending. Everyone in our organisation (from the director to the newest member) has a history of addiction. There is no other organisation like this in South Gloucestershire or Bristol. It is this important difference that helps to dissolve the barriers that, in existing work/volunteer placements services, would cause our members to isolate themselves and not fully engage in the service. These barriers include:
– negative mindsets towards work and community
– lack of structure and basic life skills
– deep trust issues and feelings they are being judged negatively
These barriers dissolve because our members no longer feel isolated and misunderstood. They no longer feel ashamed about their anxieties or lack of discipline. The social enterprise we have built allows for free communication about these issues because everyone, from the founders to the newest member, has experienced them.
The idea for the Time To Recover programme came about through the crucial identification of a gap in current provisions concerning service users with substance misuse and offending backgrounds:
1 – As a first step, this group needs to be allowed an appropriate amount of time to address the behavioural issues and unique barriers they face before they can be expected to engage in the many employment, health, probation, educational and housing services available to them.
2 – In order to effectively work on these issues an environment needs to be created that dissipates the resistance and misapprehensions we commonly associated with this group.
The programme also provides the following services:
Liaising with Partner Organisations – we provide yearly Awareness Workshops with referring organisations in order to share our on-going experiences about the issues surrounding addicts and ex-offenders. We also conduct consultations twice a year to better understand how we can help enhance the relationship between our members and these organisations.
Events and Workshops – We organise community events that are open to all members. The events are usually organised in conjunction with other local organisations in order to broaden our social networks. For example University of Bristol students helped organise a ‘Furniture Upcycling Competition’ where we came together with university students for a day of creativity.