Facilitating Collaboration with Neighbourhood Houses
The aim of the Facilitating Collaboration in Local Neighbourhoods project is to strengthen local communities via improving the capacity of Neighbourhood Houses to respond to substance use issues.
The project is funded through the Australian Government Department of Social Services’ Strengthening Communities Program, Community Development and Participation Fund, and was launched on Monday 22 June 2015 at the Bucaan Community House in Chigwell, Tasmania.
The ATDC is working in partnership with Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania (NHT, the peak body for Neighbourhood and Community Houses and Centres across Tasmania). The current project officer at the ATDC is Dr Maddi Derrick. Maddi is a Clinical Psychologist, with extensive experience working in the ATOD sector and a passion for improving outcomes for our most vulnerable community members. Jonathan Bedloe is the Development Officer at NHT and has also assisted with the project. You can find out more about NHT here.
There are five key project objectives:
- Build networks and linkages to improve responsiveness and integration of local community services;
- Build capacity across Tasmania’s Neighbourhood Houses to deliver appropriate quality support to community members with AOD related health and social needs;
- Continuous quality improvement across the ATDC, and the member organisations of ATDC and NHT;
- Reduction of AOD related stigma across the community; and
- Development and implementation of Project Evaluation Framework
There have been a wide range of project activities conducted to date. Two significant initiatives to come out of this project are the YourCall web application and the Be the Change program.
YourCall is a web application currently being developed. It is designed to be used by individuals concerned or curious about their substance use, or by a community services worker who may be supporting them. YourCall will take the user through a process of:
- Screening for problematic substance use (with feedback)
- A motivation enhancement exercise
- A guided exploration of appropriate intervention options (based on age, gender, and location)
- Active referral into intervention
The user will be guided from a point of questioning their substance use (i.e. the ‘contemplative stage of change’) through to taking the first step towards change (i.e. the ‘action stage of change’).
You can view an explainer video for YourCall here.
Development of the web app is going very well, thanks to the assistance of our AOD sector reference group, and the Neighbourhood House Coordinators and consumers that have provided input so far. YourCall will be launched in August 2017. Stay tuned for further information about the launch!
Be the Change
The Be the Change program is an eight session group program aimed at providing skills and support to people who have a partner or family member experiencing substance use issues. Topics covered include understanding addiction, bringing about change within ourselves, self-care skills, and managing relationships. The program was developed by the ATDC and piloted in eight Neighbourhood Houses from around the state in 2016. Facilitators from Youth, Family, and Community Connections, Anglicare, The Salvation Army, and City Mission Launceston delivered the program to a total of 52 participants.
As a result of the program pilot, relationships between participating Neighbourhood Houses and ATOD services have grown and collaborative initiatives are underway. Activity following the pilot period includes:
- Further cycles of the Be the Change program, including delivery to workers and volunteers to build their skills in supporting consumers
- A trial of a ‘drop in clinic’ for AOD issues at a Neighbourhood House
- Visits to AOD treatment facilities by Neighbourhood House workers
- Delivery of information sessions in Neighbourhood Houses on topics such as addiction, supporting loved ones with addiction issues, responding to an agitated person, and assertive communication
- Contribution to Neighbourhood House newsletters by AOD workers, such as an articles on self-care and wellbeing
Participants reported finding the program to be very beneficial. Evaluative feedback revealed that:
- 83% reported developing useful skills
- 91% reported finding the group supportive
- 96% found the facilitator supportive
- 96% found the Neighbourhood House to be welcoming
- 100% said the content covered in the program was helpful
- 91% said the client workbook was helpful
- 96% would recommend Be the Change to a friend
The Be the Change program resources are now freely available for use by AOD services and Neighbourhood Houses. The program is suitable to be delivered by anyone with a counselling, psychology or social work background.
The Be the Change Facilitator’s manual can be accessed here.
The Be the Change Participant Workbook can be accessed here.