Quarriers opened Arrows in August 2015 to provide support for individuals and families affected by drug and alcohol throughout Moray. The service focuses on supporting people into recovery, promoting recovery throughout the region and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction.
People can refer themselves to Arrows, and the service also works with Moray Integrated Drug and Alcohol Service and NHS Grampian to enable people to access support including community detox programmes, opiate replacement therapies, immunisation and harm reduction initiatives such as needle exchange and naloxone training.
In addition to providing one-to-one support at its base in Elgin, Arrows runs outreach days in communities throughout Moray and recently ran a programme of recovery cafés to raise awareness of the service and speak to people in the community about what they would like to see from a recovery service.
Groups run by the service give people with lived experience of addiction the opportunity to support each other in their recovery through structured sessions like SMART recovery and AA, and informal activities including walking groups and music sessions.
“We like to have something on every day for people to access,” says Service Coordinator Emma Johnston. “Providing opportunities to try different things
helps people to redefine themselves and make meaningful use of their time.”
Arrows is funded by Lloyds Partnership Drugs Initiative to provide whole family support during recovery. This support helps to strengthen families to work together in the recovery process and includes parenting strategies, access to counselling and whole-family activities to create positive experiences during what can be a difficult time.
Jeannette has struggled with alcohol dependency and had tried to stop drinking on several occasions. After a difficult few months in which drinking had resulted in her visiting hospital several times and being found unconscious in the street, Jeannette was arrested. This gave her a jolt to get her life back on track.
“I hadn’t been leading a life,” she says. “My life was alcohol.”
With support from the team at Arrows, Jeannette feels much more positive about the future. She regularly attends SMART meetings and enjoys being able to take part in something at the service every day. She says that the friends she had when she was drinking weren’t real friends, but the groups at Arrows
give her the chance to socialise in a supportive environment with people who understand her situation.
“The hardest thing is coming through the door and admitting you have a problem. But once you’re in, everyone is so friendly and we’re all supporting each other. And the staff are so motivating – I can’t speak more highly of them.”
Andy has been in recovery for 15 years, and found that music was a very positive outlet which helped him to develop confidence and motivation, and to work with other people. When he moved to Elgin and began coming along to Arrows, he was keen to start a music group to share this experience.
The group has proved to be very popular. They run weekly practice sessions, and there are guitars in the drop-in rooms at the service so people can come along and play any time. Group members range in age from 20 to 50, and Andy describes the group’s taste as very eclectic, playing everything from traditional Scottish folk to rock and pop.
“Everyone who comes along is really motivated,” he says. “We’re a small group but we’ve got big ideas.”
On Thursdays, the service runs Soups and Soaps night where people can get together to watch tv and enjoy soup and toasties. Andy has really enjoyed having something to go to at night, somewhere he can switch off and just catch up with friends. The programme of activities run by the service has, he says, really given him things to look forward to.
Having been in recovery long-term, Andy was keen to support other people, but he too benefits from the service’s one-to-one support. He says that knowing that support is there makes a real difference.