I joined Street Connect as the Fundraising and Marketing Manager in October last year and each day I continue to be moved by the care and encouragement given to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
I have seen just how determined my colleagues are to ensure that they are offering the best level of support to people with addictions. They accept people as they are, where they are and give them space to be themselves, and encourage them through each step.
It’s so encouraging to see that every person coming to Street Connect for support is treated with the utmost respect, they have dignity and see signs of hope around them that there is a life beyond addiction. I have seen the commitment that each Support Worker has for each person and the desire they have for that person to succeed in their recovery. As restrictions have eased, I’ve seen it in person. Only this week I witnessed a support worker having breakfast with a participant to help form good habits; I’ve seen a conversation on the street, where there was no judgement of what was being said, no advice on how things could have been handled differently, just a gentle and sincere suggestion to take part in a recovery group.
I can see that the Street Connect support workers live out their life in faith and that comes through in their work. The transformation that has taken place in so many of the Street Connect Support Team from lives of addiction helps others to believe that they can change too. I also know that this is a concerning time. A phrase you will recognise from this past year, “now more than ever”, stands true. Drug-related deaths are at an all-time in high in Scotland and it’s thought that the pandemic will have had a further detrimental effect to those figures. Now, more than ever, some of the most vulnerable people in our communities need our support.
I feel the urgency of this need. Just as the Support Workers do, I feel so strongly that no person affected by addiction should fall between the gaps and that at Street Connect we need to be able to continue connecting with people during Street Outreach, recovery groups and after-care.
Through lockdowns and restrictions, the team have been here offering much needed support and we want to be able to continue to be here for each person in need.
As we move out of restrictions and begin to see the devastating effect that the pandemic has had on people facing addiction, it is likely that the number of people in need of support will rise. I see Street Connect as a beacon of hope for people who are living in despair and see no other way of life. I see the Support Workers at Street Connect fighting for a better future for each person, for families, for communities. I see them standing shoulder to shoulder with people, letting them know that they are valued, that someone cares for their needs and that there is a future for them beyond addiction.
Street Connect can make a positive change to people with addiction. Throughout May we will be highlighting the support we offer to people, so keep an eye on our emails and social media to find out more!
This blog post was written by Julie Ionta, our Fundraising and Marketing Manager.