Read our frequently asked questions about your first visit, group work, volunteering, and service user involvement at Forth Valley. Click on the options below to go to that section.
Entry into services
We understand that seeking support for your drug or alcohol use can be challenging, worrying, and maybe confusing. We can help you break free from harmful patterns of behaviour and feel happier and healthier.
We tailor the drug and alcohol support we offer to fit your needs. Whether it's one-to-one working or group sessions, we will help you work towards your goals. We want you to unlock your full potential.
We hope these frequently asked questions help you to understand what happens next. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please do ask and we'll do our best to answer.
The information you have given us today will be reviewed by a Team Leader and you will be offered an appointment to discuss your goals. While you were in completing the assessment, we hope you had the chance to talk about support options, but we have also included some information in a pack for you to take home. We always aim to be in touch as quickly as possible, so you should not wait too long for your first support contact – either 1 to 1 or in the group.
All the information you have given us today is protected by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which sets out the legal basis for us holding personal information – on people who use our services in addition to staff and volunteers. You will have been asked to complete the ‘Consent, Contact and Confidentiality’ form while you were in for assessment and an information leaflet is contained in this pack.
Once you have been allocated a Recovery Coordinator, this is who you will meet at each appointment. This is important so that trust can build, which leads to a positive working relationship. However, as we are all human, sometimes a Recovery Coordinator is unable to be in work. When this is unplanned, the Team Leader will work to ensure that all your planned appointments are managed – either re-arranging when the Recovery Coordinator is back in work if it is a short absence or arranging for another member of the team to see you.
It is essentially up to you. Having support with your appointment is really important, so we encourage you to discuss your support with any family/carers/significant people in your life. Ultimately, it is your choice on who you allow to be involved in their care.
If you are working with a Recovery Coordinator, you will agree the frequency of appointments with them as part of the Recovery Plan. Some people have weekly appointments, some fortnightly, some monthly, all dependent on what the person needs and the treatment plan. If you are attending groups, there is a weekly timetable. Should you miss an appointment, the Recovery Coordinator will book in a new appointment as soon as they can. However, as Recovery Coordinators have several people to see, the next available appointment may be a few days later. We encourage you to let us know as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment so it can be rescheduled.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide that you no longer need our support Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for a person to engage with us. Our Recovery Coordinators will follow up with every person they are supporting – we want to understand why someone isn’t engaging and to do our best to remove any obstacles. We never assume why someone doesn’t come in and we will always reach out to offer support following a missed appointment. Once we feel we have tried our best to contact someone, either by phone call, text or letter, we will send what we call an ‘opt in’ letter where we invite you to get in touch with us within 14 days or the care episode would be closed. Anyone is welcome to come back to us and you can have as many care episodes as you need – there is no limit to how often someone can seek help! We treat every single person who comes to us for support with the same respect and encouragement regardless of how many times they may have disengaged previously.
We need permission to share information with any other person, including a GP. We will ask you for your permission to be in contact with your GP as it’s vitally important that your health and wellbeing is supported. However, even with your permission, we must have a reason for sharing information with a GP or any other professional, and you will be fully informed on what and when any information has been shared. Should you receive Medically Assisted Treatment with CGL support (e.g. methadone, buprenorphine), the specialist doctor who prescribes this will write to the GP following each medical review.
We can refer to a broad range of services and support agencies including Citizens Advice, housing support, Hepatology service, sexual health. We can also refer people to CADS should this be indicated.
Volunteers are a vital part of the way we set out to deliver our vision. They are a powerful force for change, their support increases the quality, quantity, and accessibility of our services and the range of help we are able to offer.
We want your experience as a volunteer to be positive as we appreciate the time and commitment you are giving to us and our service. As a volunteer, you do not receive monetary payment, but we will invest in you with training, support, and supervision.
You can view our latest volunteer recruitment opportunities and application form here (link to the tab) You can also call/email our Volunteer Coordinator to have a chat about any aspect of volunteering with the service – 07341514870 / [email protected]
All applicants are asked to complete a short application form which will help us match you to the volunteer opportunities we have. If your application indicates that you have the skills and interests we are looking for, you will be invited to take part in an interview. The interview will involve the Volunteer Coordinator and other members of the Forth Valley team – we want the interview to be an open conversation – as relaxed as possible! The interview gives us time to get to know you a bit more and we can talk about your goals in volunteering and what added value you could bring to our service and our service users. Unfortunately, not everyone who asks to volunteer with us is successful – sometimes the voluntary role and the person applying don’t fit. We will always aim to give you feedback on this and encourage your potential in future volunteering. If you are chosen to volunteer with us, you will be given an induction and training plan supported by the Volunteer Coordinator.
You will be matched with a member of the Forth Valley Recovery Service team who will be your supervisor while you volunteer with us. Your supervisor will guide you on your voluntary role and support you 1 to 1 where you will be encouraged to share how your role is going, celebrate successes and discuss any problems you may be facing. We will do our best to support you develop your volunteering role with us.
As a Volunteer in our service, you will need to join the PVG scheme (protection of vulnerable groups) which is regulated by Disclosure Scotland. We have a helpful information sheet for you that explains this process, including where certain offences will prevent someone from successfully joining the scheme.
Unless stated, the hours can be flexible to the time you can commit to and the needs of the service/service users.
All volunteers will receive a full induction which includes introduction to us, boundaries and 1:1 task specific training including shadowing, practice observations and reflection opportunities.
We value all our volunteers and provide extensive induction training before placement and ongoing training throughout your placement, with the opportunity to gain accredited certificates. Volunteers have access to the same training opportunities as paid staff. Volunteers can access training specific to their role and as part of their personal and professional development. Volunteers also have the opportunity to devise a personal development plan with their supervisor.
Yes, requests can be made in writing to us. Considerations will be based on the type and length of placement and the needs of the service at that time. Unfortunately, placements are not always available and requests may be declined.
Volunteers can claim travel expenses. This is reimbursed on a weekly basis through bank transfer or in specific circumstances, can be reimbursed on the day through petty cash authorised by a Team Leader.
We have several volunteer roles which we recruit for depending on service needs. They include roles like recovery support volunteer or social media support volunteer.
A Recovery Support volunteer will manage a small number of service users and provide a range of interventions under the supervision of a Recovery Coordinator who will retain overall responsibility for the service users. Mentoring is a 1:1 relationship where the volunteer supports the service user to achieve their personal goals. Befriending is a 1:1 relationship where the volunteer supports the service user to reduce their social isolation and/or reintegration into their local communities.
We run lots of different types of groups for people who use our services.
Types of groups
Change Group: This group is often viewed as a starting point – it will prepare you for making changes to the way you live your life with drugs and alcohol and support you to set goals and achieve those goals.
Grow Group: This group supports you to use the knowledge that you have gained from life, working with a Recovery Coordinator or another supporting person. The Grow group encourages you to explore how you think and feel and how this impacts your use of drugs and alcohol. Some of the things we will talk about in group are Communication skills, understanding motivation, Abstinence skills, Feeling/Thinking, and behaviour.
Live Group: This group supports you to look at how you can manage and maintain the positive changes that you have made and looking at ways to maintain your life without substances or stability on medical intervention.
No, we have groups at different times – mornings, afternoons and evenings. We want to give everyone the chance to join a group so try to be flexible. That said, we need to try and be sure that there are enough people in each group so we may have fewer evening groups if there is not the demand for them.
Yes, there is, we have a ‘First Steps’ Group which is for people who don’t yet feel ready to stop their drinking/and or drug use. This group is delivered in person and looks at topics such as addressing fears, understanding triggers, how we cope with feelings, reasons to think about making a change.
There would be a maximum of 8 people in any group that you would be in.
This is the most common concern that we hear and it's helpful to know that you are not alone in the feeling. We also hear back from people that this anxious feeling does not last too long once you give the groups a go! Remember, everyone in your group probably feels the same – no one is in the group to make you feel bad, to criticize, or make you feel uncomfortable. Groups are a fantastic way of meeting other people, giving and getting support from people who may have similar experiences to you. Each group has a worker, who we call a Facilitator, whose job it is to support the group, help people talk to each other and also, make sure that everyone in the group treats each other with respect.
That’s great to hear, and actually, this is a great way to start a group as you will offer so much to others who are just starting their recovery. This will increase your self-esteem and continue to boost your own recovery.
A lot of us dislike this way of communicating and it’s not ideal for making connections. However, making connections is so important in recovery especially with the current situation with COVID19 when more and more of us are unable to see and meet people as we once did and on-line helps us to do that. It can take a little while to get comfortable with talking through a screen, especially to new people, but it is totally worth trying! We will help you as much as we can to join the groups online.
We run our groups using ‘Zoom’ - a member of staff or a Group volunteer will help you to set this up and support you with the technology until you are confident of managing this. We have a few ‘how to’ help sheets too!
No one is expected to share difficult thoughts or feelings in the group. You decide what you are comfortable sharing with other members of the group. The Facilitators are in the group to help manage conversations and they can offer support when topics may feel a bit difficult. At the start of every group session as well, all group members agree ‘group rules’ that help to keep us all feeling safe and supported.
Yes, you still have a key worker though you may see them less often as you are spending more time in group. You and your keyworker will agree how often you meet once you are attending the groups.
This is up to you, but It is best if you can attend as many groups as you can. We do understand that it’s not always possible to get to every group, but we advise that it is best to try not to miss more than two sessions of any group module.
Working your way through the group programme is a fantastic achievement and we celebrate that with you! At the end of each group work block you are attending (Change, Grow, or Live) you will get a personalised Graduation Certificate. At the end of the Live Group, we ask Graduates to come to a face to face (socially distanced) gathering where you have the opportunity to meet with the people in your group in person, have a cuppa and a cake and get your certificate. We encourage graduates to stay in touch with each other for peer support once groups have ended and we are also keen for graduates to support future groups through volunteering. Your group experiences can be incredibly helpful for new people who may be nervous or anxious at the start of this journey.
Some of the feedback that we have had: “I found today really therapeutic, relating to others with similar problems to myself and getting everything out. I have done so much work towards my recovery but still benefit from these groups. Today I discussed how I managed my triggers, but I am not always putting that in to action, so I need to keep on top of it!"
Service User Involvement
We believe that those who have direct experience of our services can provide vital expertise about how to make our services work best.
A service user (SU) is defined as any individual who is the recipient of a service, their families and carers, a former service user, and a potential service user.
Yes you can! There should be no barrier to you sharing your views and getting involved in how we deliver our services while you are still working with us.
Speak to your Recovery Coordinator or a Team Leader and have a chat about getting involved. Your worker will be able to give you more information on the Service User Involvement activities in this area and can connect you to the Volunteer Coordinator who will support your recruitment, induction, and training as a SU rep.
Induction is the process of introducing new volunteers to the service. This includes an introduction to us and boundaries training. We will cover our aims, values, policies, and procedures. There will also be detailed conversations in relation to the role and expectations of both us and you.
As a Service User Representative, you will need to join the PVG scheme (protection of vulnerable groups) which is regulated by Disclosure Scotland. We have a helpful information sheet for you that explains this process, including where certain offenses will prevent someone from successfully joining the scheme. The roles requiring a PVG are: Recovery Coach, Service User volunteer at drop-in/assessment clinic, Service User volunteer contacting other service users by phone or in-person.
Recovery Coaches will be allocated a supervisor who will support them in their role. The supervisor will predominantly be a Recovery Coordinator who the Coach will work alongside. Other service user roles will be supported initially by a Team Leader.
The hours can be flexible to the time you can commit to and the needs of the service/service users. Before you make any commitment, talk it over with your Recovery Coordinator or a Team Leader.
Service User Involvement Representatives are viewed as volunteers and so have access to the same training opportunities as paid staff. Volunteers can access training specific to their role and as part of their personal and professional development. Volunteers also have the opportunity to devise a personal development plan with their supervisor.
Volunteers can claim travel expenses. This is reimbursed on a weekly basis through bank transfer or can be reimbursed on the day through petty cash.