Elly's #BelieveInPeople Story

Elly has bright orange hair and is smiling at the camera

In today’s #BelieveInPeople campaign, we spoke to Elly, a Harm Reduction Recovery Coordinator at Change Grow Live, about how she has been believing in people for nearly 30 years. Originally trained as a social worker, she is now guest lecturing at the university she trained in, and this year won our Innovator of the Year.

“I guarantee every family in the country will know someone struggling with an addiction”

“I can guarantee that every single family in the country will know someone in their family who is living with and struggling with an addiction and that fear to actually get help or even tell the family is such a barrier. And I think that we have that approach here where people feel comfortable to come in and tell us anything knowing and that it's a safe place."

Offering meaningful support

Our service users face stigma. As soon as they walk out of this door, I imagine they may face stigma. So, we need to talk to people and treat people with respect. I'm able to be there for those times when someone maybe comes in in a crisis, whether that's drug induced or something else is going on for them. Yesterday I saw a woman I've known for many years who had just had a snowball, so she'd injected heroin and crack together.

She came to me straight afterwards and she was hallucinating and in agitated delirium. I spent over an hour with her just being calm and letting her speak. But because I gave her the time and just let her say whatever she wanted to say within reason, she was able to leave and go to somewhere safe so that we could then talk to her again the next day.

Having that dedicated time is absolutely priceless. At Change Grow Live I can come in and do a really meaningful intervention, whether that just be listening to someone or giving them time, advice, the right information, or hooking them up with the right professional.

Innovator of the Year

I was really proud to win this year’s Innovator of the Year at our service awards. I’m told I have lots of flamboyant ideas and I’m innovative with the people we work with. Some of the young people we work with struggle to read and write so I ran a photography competition with them about harm reduction. The young people had to take a photo which represented a drug. So, for example, one of the photographs was plant pots on the head, and harm reduction details about cannabis on the other side. It was a simple but fun activity that really engaged people.

Believing in people

This is the best organisation I’ve ever worked in, and I've never had so many opportunities. I feel it believes in its staff and all of the people we support.”

If you would like to work for Change Grow Live, visit Careers and job vacancies at Change Grow Live