New Norfolk drugs and alcohol service

A new treatment and recovery service for people in Norfolk with drug and alcohol problems is to start across the county from spring 2013.

The Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) has been awarded a five-year contract to provide the fully-integrated service for adults affected by drugs and alcohol from April 1, 2013.

The partnership will see the mental health trust, which is Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and The Matthew Project provide joint services within the community, with RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners' Trust) working within prisons at HMP Norwich, Wayland and Bure. It will be the first time services across the whole county have been provided by one partnership, in a bid to ensure that people can access a fair and co-ordinated service, regardless of where they live.

Denise Grimes, service manager for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'We have listened to feedback from services users and their families and have designed the service to be responsive and flexible as a result. This means we will be able to offer each individual a choice of interventions specially tailored to meet their particular needs so that they can start successfully managing their life without substances.'

Services will include group work, talking therapies, non structured activities, substitute prescribing and development of life skills. The partnership will also explore the option of running services from different community locations.

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Rosalie Weetman, chief executive of The Matthew Project, said: 'This contract gives us the opportunity to work even more closely with our partners to create a truly joined up, easily accessible service for adults.'

People will be able to self-refer into the open access service though a new website, by dropping into a recovery caf� or by calling a 24/7 help line.

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Further details will be available later in the autumn.

The award of the contract means that charity Norcas, which has been operating these services in Norfolk for almost four decades, has lost out.

Maggie Williams, Norcas chief executive, said: 'We remain committed to those staff and service users affected and we will work closely with the new providers to provide clear information and support to ensure a smooth transfer of services.

'Looking forward, Norcas is endeavouring to continue to operate its contracts which are unaffected by this decision as well as continuing to pursue new opportunities in order to offer vital support services to those who need it, where demand is not already met.'

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