The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has launched details of the projects that have been funded under our Impact of Alcohol programme which is supporting people, families and communities affected by alcohol misuse.
Through the Big Lottery Fund’s Impact of Alcohol Programme, the BHSCT has developed a strategic approach working in partnership with four agencies, Opportunity Youth, ASCERT, FASA and Addiction NI, to use the £1.5 million invested to work with alcohol services over the next four years.
Martin Fitzpatrick, 18, attended the recent launch to talk about his experiences with alcohol and how drinking and smoking cannabis was wrecking his life. However support from Opportunity Youth who have secured a Big Lottery Fund grant from this programme, has transformed his life.
“Looking back, I know now I was in a bad place. I didn’t have any real friends and all I did was drink and smoke grass. My mum noticed a change in my behaviour after a specific incident when I started to use a lot more. She took me to Opportunity Youth’s DAISY service which is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Impact of Alcohol programme.
“DAISY stands for Drugs and Alcohol Intervention Service for Youth and it helps support people like me who are using and who are in danger of the impact of drugs and or alcohol.
“I was assigned to a keyworker, Conal who I met with regularly. In the beginning I didn’t feel like I needed to stop what I was doing but after three sessions I began to cut down my use and I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I started feeling more positive about my life and making changes like going to the gym with my brother.
“Now I have a more positive outlook on life. I have got the trust of my family back and I have a different crowd of friends – real friends. I am healthier and I feel so much happier. I have finished school and am looking to the future now and applying for courses which start in September.
“I have my final meeting with Conal is next week but I know I can contact the DAISY service if I need help in the future.
To find out more about Opportunity Youth services in your area, ring 028 9043 5810 or visit www.opportunity-youth.org. Written by Karen Ireland.