Urban Clean Team to clean Lancashire's waterways

4 April 2012

A unique team of volunteers from Lancashire, who are recovering from drug and alcohol issues, are giving something back to the communities that supported their recovery, by cleaning up Lancashire's rivers and canals.

The 'Urban Clean Team' begins a summer-long programme of clean-up events, by wading in to clean up the River Calder in Towneley Park on 5th April from 11.30 onwards.

The team is made up of people in treatment for substance misuse issues and staff from treatment services: 'Inspire' in East Lancashire; 'Discover' in Central Lancashire and 'J2R' in North Lancashire.

Two prisoners from HMP Kirkham Prison will be joining the team for the day to help clear up the river, alongside Kirkham Prison's A2nd Chance team, who are two ex-prisoners now working with prisoners in Kirkham Prison and using their past experience to help the men in Kirkham rebuild their lives and move away from substance misuse and offending.

Kirk Ryder, part of the team, said he's excited about taking part: "This is a great opportunity for us to show that now we are clean and in recovery, we have a lot to offer. We have all benefitted from the help of local services like 'Inspire', in Burnley, which helped us get our lives, families and health back, and everyone in our communities who supported us through treatment. This is a chance for us to give something back, by tidying up rivers and canals for the community to enjoy."       

The team will be joined by Strategic Director of LDAAT, Tom Woodcock, and Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, Andy Rhodes, who will both be on hand to offer their support.

The volunteers met through the Lancashire User Forum (LUF) an independent, monthly group set up by Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team (LDAAT) to give people in recovery the chance to share ideas, support and a place to socialise.

LUF was set up to create opportunities for people in recovery to re-connect with their local communities by taking part in meaningful volunteering and community-based activities.

Following the success of LUF, two new teams have been employed by LDAAT - the Delivering Recovery in Volunteering Environments team (DRIVE) and the Building Recovery in Communities team (BRiC) - to build further links with charities, colleges and local businesses and even more opportunities for service users across Lancashire.

Chair of LUF and DRIVE, Team Leader, Peter Yarwood, said both teams have been instrumental in putting the Urban Clean Team together: "There was a feeling amongst service users and LUF members that a community volunteering challenge like the Urban Clean Team would give everyone the chance to get involved in giving something back to the community and making recovery more visible in Lancashire communities.

"With the help of the new DRIVE and BRiC teams, we will be taking our river and canal cleaning challenge on tour throughout the summer and aim will be out and about cleaning Lancashire waterways each month and getting the message out there that people do recover from drug and alcohol problems and lead full, varied lives afterwards." 

Everyone attending the volunteering event will be eligible to receive an accredited certificate by taking part in the event and a couple of hour's classroom training afterwards. They will receive a Level 1 award in community volunteering.

The event has been supported by the Ribble Rivers Trust and the Urban Clean Team, will be cleaning up a different part of Lancashire's waterways on the first Thursday of each month, throughout the summer.

Victoria Dewhurst is from the Ribble Rivers Trust: "As we work our way along the rivers and canals of Lancashire we will be able to make a real difference to the quality of the waterside by clearing away rubbish and overhanging plants and debris.  As the summer approaches it is important to make sure canals and rivers are in a fit state for the community to enjoy and the Clean Team will really help to make a difference this year."

Notes to Editors

To arrange an interview, come along to the event or to receive photographs, please contact: Jaine.barry@centrallancashire.nhs.uk or phone - 01772 777 060

  • The Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team (LDAAT) deliver the Government¿s National Drug and Alcohol Strategies across Lancashire.
  • LDAAT works with local partners and the voluntary sector to develop drug and alcohol services that let people re-build their lives in their own communities.
  • LDAAT commissions drug and alcohol services for Lancashire, coordinating Central Government funding for local treatment and managing the performance of Lancashire's services.
  • The services we commission provide support for the recovery of substance misusing clients and incorporate help with housing, health, education and employment.
  • LDAAT also facilitates the Lancashire Users Forum (LUF), an event that runs every six weeks and is open to service users and professionals. LUF provides an opportunity for discussion around recovery and best practice and links to the local community, third sector, employment and education opportunities.  

More information about LDAAT can be found at www.ldaat.org or phone: 01772 777 060 

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