Project 6

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Project 6's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Project 6 is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.project6.org.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | PROJECT 6
Young people’s activities
CEO VickiBeere
Project 6 is a medium-sized charity working with people
affected by substance use and multiple complex needs
across West Yorkshire. CEO Vicki Beere tells
The
Parliamentary Review
that Project 6’s history is intertwined
with the progress of harm reduction and social care initiatives
throughout the 1980s, and sets out her blueprint for reform.
Our story deserves showcasing. Over recent years we have survived and thrived
through multiple challenges including bruising cuts, re-tenders and most recently a
merger, while achieving an incredible impact for our beneficiaries.
Harm reduction
There are considerable parallels between the history of Project 6 – or P6 – and the
groundbreaking interventions of harm reduction, both of which began in Britain
in the 1980s. The UK’s modern drugs policy and P6 both started life during the
harm reduction initiatives, which were the Thatcher government’s pragmatic and
successful response to the HIV crisis.
Organisations such as ours often emerged from the concerns of family members of
people injecting heroin, and thus put in place pioneering harm reduction and needle
exchange services. Harm reduction, as defined by Harm Reduction International,
refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimise negative health,
social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws.
Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights; it focuses on positive change
and on working with people without judgment, coercion, discrimination or requiring
that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support. P6 was Keighley’s response to
this HIV crisis – an old mill town which lost its industry and gained a heroinproblem.
FACTS ABOUT
PROJECT 6
»CEO: VickiBeere
»Founded in 1989
»Located in West Yorkshire
»Services: Charity for people
affected by substance use
»No. of employees: 64
Project 6
27PROJECT 6 |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
Sector in crisis
Project 6 grew in this era, providing
excellent harm reduction and community-
focused services, an integrated
treatment system working with GPs and
the local hospital plus a well-resourced
recovery centre for those who needed
it. We had specifically tailored support
for communities of interest and were
early adopters of wellbeing and
mindfulness. Then austerity hit.
Today we are experiencing the
consequences of austerity: government
cuts to local authority budgets; cuts in
housing and supported housing budgets;
cuts in welfare and other services
coupled with a failure to achieve parity
between mental and physical health
services. Ageing users of heroin are living
with ever increasing and unmanaged
long-term conditions. A rough sleeper
dies on our streets every 19 hours.
This has occurred alongside an
ideological drive from some corners
of the government for abstinence and
recovery much to the detriment of harm
reduction. We have seen a national
response to the cuts which has resulted
in organisations delivering sub-optimal
services, with no counselling support,
high caseloads and the absolute
collapse of harm reduction services.
Despite our local success, the sector
in which we operate is in crisis and
we are unable to ignore this. People
who use drugs, including alcohol, are
dying in ever-increasing numbers at an
unprecedented rate. Scotland has the
highest drug-related death rate in the
world. This crisis is totally preventable.
The dual policies of austerity and de-
prioritisation of harm reduction have
had a negative impact on drug-related
deaths. Over the years, services have
had to adapt to changing government
strategies, from harm reduction, to the
boom years of criminal justice expansion
and latterly the move towards recovery.
Local authorities are juggling continual
cuts from central government, having
to shave millions off their budgets for
substance misuse. There has been a 27
per cent cut across treatment service
budgets. Many LAs have decided
that consolidating services is the key
to achieving these cuts, and that
commissioning one large provider will
help reduce costs further.
Programmes of procurement create a
race to the bottom by commissioning
larger national providers who are not
locally linked to their communities and
who bring a model that is imposed
on local areas. There is a considerable
loss of local knowledge, passion and
commitment to local communities, and
a lack of added value abounds. Local
providers with decades of experience
have been squeezed out.
Sheffield service users’
art exhibition
People who
use drugs,
including
alcohol, are
dying in ever-
increasing
numbers at an
unprecedented
rate
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | PROJECT 6
Young people’s activities
CEO VickiBeere
Project 6 is a medium-sized charity working with people
affected by substance use and multiple complex needs
across West Yorkshire. CEO Vicki Beere tells
The
Parliamentary Review
that Project 6’s history is intertwined
with the progress of harm reduction and social care initiatives
throughout the 1980s, and sets out her blueprint for reform.
Our story deserves showcasing. Over recent years we have survived and thrived
through multiple challenges including bruising cuts, re-tenders and most recently a
merger, while achieving an incredible impact for our beneficiaries.
Harm reduction
There are considerable parallels between the history of Project 6 – or P6 – and the
groundbreaking interventions of harm reduction, both of which began in Britain
in the 1980s. The UK’s modern drugs policy and P6 both started life during the
harm reduction initiatives, which were the Thatcher government’s pragmatic and
successful response to the HIV crisis.
Organisations such as ours often emerged from the concerns of family members of
people injecting heroin, and thus put in place pioneering harm reduction and needle
exchange services. Harm reduction, as defined by Harm Reduction International,
refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimise negative health,
social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws.
Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights; it focuses on positive change
and on working with people without judgment, coercion, discrimination or requiring
that they stop using drugs as a precondition of support. P6 was Keighley’s response to
this HIV crisis – an old mill town which lost its industry and gained a heroinproblem.
FACTS ABOUT
PROJECT 6
»CEO: VickiBeere
»Founded in 1989
»Located in West Yorkshire
»Services: Charity for people
affected by substance use
»No. of employees: 64
Project 6
27PROJECT 6 |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
Sector in crisis
Project 6 grew in this era, providing
excellent harm reduction and community-
focused services, an integrated
treatment system working with GPs and
the local hospital plus a well-resourced
recovery centre for those who needed
it. We had specifically tailored support
for communities of interest and were
early adopters of wellbeing and
mindfulness. Then austerity hit.
Today we are experiencing the
consequences of austerity: government
cuts to local authority budgets; cuts in
housing and supported housing budgets;
cuts in welfare and other services
coupled with a failure to achieve parity
between mental and physical health
services. Ageing users of heroin are living
with ever increasing and unmanaged
long-term conditions. A rough sleeper
dies on our streets every 19 hours.
This has occurred alongside an
ideological drive from some corners
of the government for abstinence and
recovery much to the detriment of harm
reduction. We have seen a national
response to the cuts which has resulted
in organisations delivering sub-optimal
services, with no counselling support,
high caseloads and the absolute
collapse of harm reduction services.
Despite our local success, the sector
in which we operate is in crisis and
we are unable to ignore this. People
who use drugs, including alcohol, are
dying in ever-increasing numbers at an
unprecedented rate. Scotland has the
highest drug-related death rate in the
world. This crisis is totally preventable.
The dual policies of austerity and de-
prioritisation of harm reduction have
had a negative impact on drug-related
deaths. Over the years, services have
had to adapt to changing government
strategies, from harm reduction, to the
boom years of criminal justice expansion
and latterly the move towards recovery.
Local authorities are juggling continual
cuts from central government, having
to shave millions off their budgets for
substance misuse. There has been a 27
per cent cut across treatment service
budgets. Many LAs have decided
that consolidating services is the key
to achieving these cuts, and that
commissioning one large provider will
help reduce costs further.
Programmes of procurement create a
race to the bottom by commissioning
larger national providers who are not
locally linked to their communities and
who bring a model that is imposed
on local areas. There is a considerable
loss of local knowledge, passion and
commitment to local communities, and
a lack of added value abounds. Local
providers with decades of experience
have been squeezed out.
Sheffield service users’
art exhibition
People who
use drugs,
including
alcohol, are
dying in ever-
increasing
numbers at an
unprecedented
rate
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | PROJECT 6
This results in a loss of community
needle exchanges, talking therapies
and the ability, time and skill to create
a therapeutic alliance with individuals.
Pulling ourselves up by the
bootstraps
We have seen a 17 per cent increase in
drug-related deaths. A total of 4,359
perfectly preventable deaths occurred
last year in England and Wales – the
biggest year-on-year increase since
records began.
Organisations like Project 6, who are
compassionate, agile, flexible and
responsive, and who achieve exceptional
results for the people and families they
work with, struggle to get their voices
heard, and all of the above issues have
impacted on us and, most importantly,
on the people and families we work with.
We have “pulled ourselves up by
our bootstraps” like the government
wants us to do. We have restructured,
retendered and merged, and out of
this a new, innovative organisation
has been reborn. We have some really
exciting ideas and projects, which we
believe are genuinely groundbreaking.
We hope to call for the following
changes because they will save lives:
»A return to the harm reduction
approach and the strategic priority of
drug and alcohol treatment – returning
to the world we were in 25 years ago
»A genuine end to austerity
»Allocate the Department of Health,
not the Home Office, as lead on
national drug policy.
Only when these conditions are met
can we start to argue for progressive
policy change and services such
as drug consumption rooms and
consistent roll-out of front-of-house
drug testing at music festivals and
events – because at the moment there
are inadequate basic harm reduction
services from which to build this case.
Organisations
like Project 6
are
compassionate,
agile, flexible
and responsive
»MO
Mo has been coming to Project 6 for the past three years. She was using heroin prior to this and was in an
abusive relationship, being one of the reasons she continued to use. After becoming drug-free, Mo stated that
she felt empty and alone, especially considering that her relationship had broken down since she had stopped
using – her partner still was.
Mo said she had been told about Project 6 and what we offer here. She had doubts about it, thinking that it
would be difficult to be around other users. However, she gave it a go and started attending recovery groups and
activities.
“This really helped with distracting me from cravings and helped with relapse prevention techniques. Above all
else, Project 6 gave me a sense of community and belonging. I now run the arts and crafts groups, and I have
been asked to become a volunteer, which I feel is a great honour.
It feels great to be able to give something back to Progress [a recovery centre] and all the people that have helped
me get to where I am today. Project 6 changed my life.”
Theresa May and Vicki
Beere discussing drug
policy

www.project6.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Project 6. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development