Swanswell part of a drug and alcohol misuse pilot being launched in Coventry and Warwickshire

01 February 2013

Issued jointly by Coventry City Council
People recovering from drug and alcohol misuse in Coventry and Warwickshire are to get extra help to find employment under a new pilot scheme announced by Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan-Smith.

The initiative will link drug and alcohol treatment services with the government's Work Programme scheme.

It comes as Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council announce that Swanswell has won a three-year contract worth £1.2million to provide employment support for people recovering from substance misuse, alongside specialist help around housing, money management and benefit advice. It will extend and replace Swanswell's existing Supporting People contract in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Swanswell - a Rugby-based national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - will receive additional funding from the government's Work Programme for each long-term unemployed client they help into sustained employment.

The pilot scheme will be announced during a major speech on tackling poverty by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith in London today.

Cllr Faye Abbott, Chair of Coventry City Council's Scrutiny Board for Community Safety, welcomed the announcement.

She said: 'It's common for people with drug and alcohol addictions to be trapped in a vicious cycle where unstable housing, few qualifications and little work experience gets in the way of their efforts to achieve long term recovery.

'This new pilot will bring closer working with the Work Programme to add an extra dimension to the support we can give to those seeking to break free from their dependence for good.'

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell's Chief Executive, said: 'We're delighted to have the opportunity to build upon our work in Coventry and Warwickshire by delivering the new Independent Living service in the area.

'By working closely with the Employment and Skills Group as part of the government's Work Programme, we're now able to support clients with employment-related issues such as CV writing, job searching and training.

'Used alongside our existing support around benefits, housing and managing debt, it will give people affected by substance misuse the tools they need to get back into work while helping them achieve a successful recovery.'

Cllr Richard Hobbs, portfolio holder for community safety with Warwickshire County Council, said: 'It is excellent news that we are working very positively with people who have issues of substance misuse; both for them and for the communities that they live in. By giving them positive outcomes we are steering them away from anti-social behaviour and crime so everybody benefits.'

Graham Wiggall, from Work Programme provider ESG said: 'This pilot allows us to fully incorporate both employability and treatment services through one provider. This streamlined approach will give the best package of support to our customers, enabling them to find employment whilst also receiving the treatment and associated help that they need.

'We feel that this pilot fits into our model which is based around supporting customers on an individual basis dependant on their needs. We look forward to working with Swanswell on this pilot and hope it will show the positive results that we expect it to.'

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