Special news announcement from EDP Drug & Alcohol Services

Lucie Hartley, CEO EDP Drug & Alcohol Services

EDP Drug & Alcohol Services has recently announced that its Chief Executive of eleven years, Lucie Hartley, is to stand down. The range and scope of the services and projects on offer means that it is now one of the largest charities in the South West of England. In response to the news Ian MacQueen, Chair of Trustees said;

EDP is greatly respected in the field of substance misuse and its reputation continues to thrive thanks to the focus, vision and value centred approach that Lucie brought to her leadership. She always put people at the heart of her decisions and thinking, which is why she had such an impact on service users, partners and staff alike, all of whom will miss her greatly”.

In light of Lucie’s departure and to build upon EDP’s strong position and reputation in its sector, EDP’s Board is using the opportunity to undertake a strategic review to ensure that they can be clear and focused about what is needed to bring their ambitious future plans to life. In the meantime, EDP’s Directors, Julie Howes and Helena Freeman are jointly heading up the organisation.

The last eighteen months have been a period of significant growth and development for the charity. With such significant changes having taken place and exciting plans ahead, EDP is keen to keep its partnership network updated about progress and reflect upon how far it has come since its formation in 1984, more particularly since 2001 when Lucie first became Deputy Director before taking over as CEO in 2008.

The position as it stands today is that EDP Drug & Alcohol Services (previously Exeter Drugs Project) holds contracts for the following services:
REACH Service (Drug and Alcohol Services across Dorset County)

This service is for both adults and young people and EDP subcontracts Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Mental Health NHS Trust (AWP) and Essential Drug and Alcohol Services (EDAS) to provide the clinical services and services for young people as part of its REACH service.
Together Services (Drug and Alcohol Services across Devon County)

This is an adult service and EDP now provides both the psychosocial and clinical elements of this contract. EDP established the Devon Together Alliance, a collaborative partnership of Devon-based organisations, to support this contract and help deliver integrated services and explore system-wide changes across Devon.
Integrated Substance Misuse Service (ISMS) in Devon and Dorset prisons

EDP is subcontracted by the Healthcare Provider, CareUK, to provide Drug and Alcohol Services in the prisons (excluding the clinical services, which CareUK provide).

Reflecting on some of the challenges around the changing landscape of both the prison and community-based work, Lucie said;

“Whilst we will continue to positively approach what we do, we can’t pretend that the significant disinvestment in Drug and Alcohol Services and in public sector services in general hasn’t impacted both on people we work with and on the experience of our staff. There has been an increase in the number of drug related deaths, an increase in the number of people who are homeless and more people coming to services, who have complex lives and find it hard to get the support they need. Working in the prisons over the last few years has been particularly challenging, with reductions to prison staffing and the widely reported increase in violence and use of Novel Psychoactive Substances”.

However, providing services in both the prisons and communities in Devon and Dorset has supported effective transitions for prisoners between the two environments, especially given EDP has staff who have worked in both types of settings and can therefore bring additional knowledge and expertise to help people through these transition.

EDP has also responded to some of these challenges by bringing numerous innovative added value services which help people overcome a multitude of challenges and bring stability, confidence and volunteering/ employment opportunities to some of the people in our community who find it hardest to access services. Examples of this work in practice include: 

‘The Departure Lounge’ is a successful hub of support where people being prepared for release from prison are offered practical, simple help to make the transition back into society easier and less fraught with risk and stress. Vital tasks are carried out like charging phones, handing out clean, smart clothes that can be used for interviews, arranging transport home and being given water for the journey. Key organisations are present in the Departure Lounge to meet with people leaving prison on the day of their release.
Hidden Gems is a jewellery making social enterprise set up by EDP and supported by the Rank Foundation to support people emerging from complex life challenges. Hidden Gems enrols people onto a twelve-week course where people learn the craft of jewellery making and wider business skills like marketing, packaging and online sales. 
Devon Time supports communities across Devon to set up and sustain co-produced community timebanks. Timebanking brings whole communities together with members of the public, organisations and businesses offering to share time, talents, experience and assistance which in turn enables individuals and groups within our communities to build skills, connections and networks. 
Flourish in Nature is supporting people who are in recovery to reap the benefits of the natural environment as an aid to better health and wellbeing, whilst learning skills and gaining qualifications as voluntary outdoor activity leaders.

With Lucie stepping down at the end of May, it seems timely to look at a snapshot of EDP eleven years ago when she took charge of the organisation and the new EDP with its strong and prominent position in the sector. When she first started at EDP, the charity had a turnover of less than £1 million and employed 33 paid staff. EDP only worked in Devon. Today, its turnover is over £9 million and EDP employs 250 paid staff. EDP is now the lead provider for a number of large contracts across Devon and Dorset and is a provider of clinical services. Reflecting on  some of the positive changes that she has witnessed Lucie said;

 “I would say that people with drug and alcohol problems are less ‘pathologised’ by some services than they have been in the past. The ‘recovery agenda’ has recognised the importance of focusing on people’s strengths as well as their difficulties and more attention is paid to recognising and responding to past trauma. Longer contracts now give us much more time to develop services. Larger contracts and an increasing understanding of the value of a system-based approach has also brought organisations together in a positive and exciting way, despite the challenges individual organisations face. It’s good to look at things that haven’t changed at all; most notably the amazing commitment, passion and competencies EDP staff bring. I feel proud that, within a landscape of constant change, we continue to approach what we do with a strong value base and haven’t lost our heart”.

It is worth remembering that Partnership is one of EDP’s core values:

Partners – We do it together. We see partnerships as the key to better futures for people affected by substance misuse. We develop strong and meaningful partnerships with people who use our services, staff, other agencies, our funders, research bodies and our communities. We will ensure that our services are accessible to all.

Strong, collaborative relationships sit at the heart of EDP’s current work and future plans and  we would like to thank all partners and stakeholders for being such an integral part of EDP’s journey. Lucie leaves the organisation in a strong, healthy shape with a clear roadmap to help it fulfil its goals and achieve its aspirations for the people EDP works with. 

For further information please contact

Helena Freeman – Director helenafreeman@edp.org.uk
Julie Howes – Director juliehowes@edp.org.uk

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