Substance misuse event focuses on children for safeguarding day

The drug and alcohol misuse service Brighton Oasis Project hosted an important event to highlight the vital services needed for young people in the region and promote their key messages for the future last Friday. The event coincides with National Safeguarding Day on the 29 February which is the one day this year where organisations Stop what Jo Anne Welsh- CEO Brighton Oasis Projectthey are doing, Look at their safeguarding practices, Listen to young people and take action.

On Friday delegates from the local community,
attended the event which saw a number of Brighton Oasis Project service users describe their situations, their drug and alcohol dependency and the impact the service has had on their lives and the lives of their children. 

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, is a champion for youth services and making a difference to young people’s lives through his work with youth unemployment charity ‘Working for Youth’. Speaking prior to the event on Friday he said: “I am determined to ensure that at this crucial time, we do everything we can to support the next generation. National Safeguarding Day is a fantastic initiative and it’s important that we focus on all areas where our children are being affected from alcohol and substance misuse to unemployment. The services which Brighton Oasis Project provide are vital to the region and I am proud to support an organisation which has such a positive effect on the lives of children impacted by drugs and alcohol misuse in the city.”

Brighton Oasis Project provide a range of services which all contribute to safeguarding children in the city, giving care and support to around 175 children a year directly, with many more safeguarded indirectly as a result of their services for adults. In a recent report for Channel 4 during ‘Children of Alcoholics Week’ it was revealed that 2.6 million children, roughly one in five, live with a hazardous drinker. Two young children from Brighton Oasis Project’s ‘Young Oasis’ service who lived with a parents with an alcohol problem were interviewed for the report and said their lives “were without question better now” having attended the service.

Brighton Oasis Project -LogoJo-Anne Welsh, Director for Brighton Oasis Project, explained: “Brighton Oasis Project has been working with women with drug and alcohol problems for 19 years and since our inception we have provide a crèche. The links between substance misuse and risks to children are well known and we know that women are unable to access treatment without child care and that children affected by substance misuse are vulnerable.”

Brighton Oasis Project services which focus on safeguarding children includes;
• The Parenting Our Children , Addressing Risk (POCAR) Programme working with parents whose children have social work involvement as a result of their parents substance misuse
• A crèche caring for children from birth while their parents engage in treatment and recovery activities
• A therapeutic service for children affected by parental substance misuse working with those aged 5-18
• A Young Women’s Alcohol Worker focusing on 14-25 year olds
• Inclusive Holiday Art activities for children
• Evidence based parenting programmes

Councillor Alex Phillips from the Green Party, representing Caroline Lucas MP at the event, gave an impassioned speech about how impressed and inspired she was by the work that Brighton Oasis Project do in the city. She explained how inspiring it was to see the project allowing women to have confidence in the face of addiction and how they’re using evidence based research such as POCAR to tackle the growing issue of children living with parents with an alcohol problem.

Jo-Anne added: “We’re very grateful to everyone that attended our event to hear staff along with current and former clients talk about our services and the impact they have on children’s safety and wellbeing. We want to increase the visibility and give a voice to children affected by substance misuse in the family and let local businesses know about our evaluation of the POCAR service which highlights the social value created by the POCAR programme.”

National Safeguarding Day is organised by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS), and they urge organisations to pledge to spend some time on 29 February 2016 reviewing their safeguarding policy and/or practice, run safeguarding sessions with young people on the 29 February and more.

For more information about Brighton Oasis Project go to www.oasisproject.org.uk