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Quarriers Arrows Service (Moray) wins Pioneering Project award

Quarriers Arrows Drug and Alcohol Support in Moray is ‘honoured and grateful’ to have been selected as the winner of the Pioneering Project award for Operation Protector at the recent Scottish Charity Awards.

Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector.

This year’s shortlist included 32 individuals and organisations from charities and voluntary groups across the country following a record-breaking number of nominations.

Quarriers Arrows has been recognised as the winner in the Pioneering Project category with Operation Protector, which is a unique multi-partnership collaboration in Moray to help support those vulnerable to drug-related harm.

Each year the service hosts four ‘days of action’ which involves three teams working in tandem, each taking a different approach in the community.

The soft approach – going to see vulnerable people in the community to talk to them about cuckooing, and what to look out for.

Enforcement team – an Arrows fieldworker will be alongside Police Scotland as they serve warrants. The fieldworker will encourage that person into service rather than criminalising them.

Community hub – An information mobile centre manned by Arrows, Police Scotland and Public Health which provides information on drugs, alcohol, and naloxone. Situated at one of the major supermarkets in Buckie or Elgin.

The initial idea for OP was a suggestion thrown around during a meeting between Police Scotland’s Detective Sergeant Scott McKay and Justin Jansen of Arrows, and from that idea, Operation Protector has grown to become a multi-faceted support network.

Service Manager for Arrows, Justin Jansen explains: “Operation Protector (OP) has been ground-breaking in tackling drug and alcohol issues in Moray. OP has managed to bring many substance users into this service, rather than being arrested, with the close cooperation of Police Scotland. Partnering a drug and alcohol support service with the Police wasn’t thought to be a marriage made in heaven, and it hasn’t been easy, but we are seeing such positive results with referrals coming in and cross-partnership working proving invaluable to everyone involved.

“The spin-offs from OP include the creation of a successful Recovery Football Team programme, instigating lived-experience drug and alcohol talks to all High Schools in Moray, and informing the locals about protection, vulnerability, naloxone training and cuckooing. It has also evolved even more now that we are providing sports for kids that have been affected by substance use. We are offering taster sessions with the local rugby and football clubs – all of this is the result of working in partnership with other local agencies on Operation Protector.

“I’m extremely honoured and grateful for Arrows to be recognised by the Scottish Charity Award, and by our peers within social care for the work that we do.

“Being recognised is important, but it is just the beginning as Operation Protector is still evolving and the work starts now because there is so much more to do.

“I would like to thank not only the team at Arrows – the fieldworkers, assessors, volunteers – but also Police Scotland which has guided and supported us every step of the way, and ublic Health Scotland for supplying information and being a great partner. I’m very grateful that they joined in with us and have made OP what it is today. Finally, I will say that Operation Protector has got the recognition that I think the people of Moray deserve. It’s not really about the service, it’s about the people.”

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “The Scottish Charity Awards are a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the exceptional individuals and groups within our vibrant sector.

“This year’s record-breaking number of nominations underlines the strength of Scotland’s voluntary sector and the crucial work that we see from charities and voluntary organisations across the country. The hard work and dedication of people and organisations like these 32 finalists are making Scotland a better place to live and work.”