Richard Adams

Richard Adams – Young Persons Recovery Coordinator

“My role involves managing a case load of young people who access Forward Leeds for
support around drugs and alcohol. My role is varied and two days are never the same.

“I’m very lucky that I’m not sat at a desk all day as it means I can better support the young people I work with. We help them access college courses, mental health services, nurses, doctors, gyms, basically any service that will help them on their recovery journey.

“I enjoy my role because I’ve seen the effects drugs and alcohol can have on a person and I wanted to work with younger people to try to educate and guide them to prevent problematic drug use in the future.

“It’s very rewarding working with young people, especially those that have managed to turn their lives around for the better after believing that they can’t, trapped in the cycle of drugs and boredom.”

Ilyas Banaras

Ilyas Banaras – Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Advisor

“I’ve worked at Forward Leeds for just over a year. Prior to that I worked for DISC’s
Offender Support Services with the prescribing team and the drug rehabilitation team.

“SPOC are often the first port of call for anyone contacting Forward Leeds and I mainly handle phone calls about prescriptions, appointments and referrals. We also have friend and families calling to ask our advice. SPOC handle the online enquiries as well. Its quite full on and the team handle up to 200 calls a day.

“We’re active even proactive, we’re not just a call centre, we give harm reduction advice and assess risks before booking face-to-face appointments. We often go beyond to ensure people feel supported and looked after.

“What I enjoy about Forward Leeds is that I get to help and support people and we’re able to do that really quickly. I’ve learned so much from working at Forward Leeds, they’ve really given me the chance to develop myself.”

Carla Carr

Carla Carr – Recovery Champion

“I’ve been doing my current role as a Recovery Champion with Forward Leeds since it
began in July 2015. My role is to show visible recovery within the hubs and to support
people to sustain their own recovery. I do this by talking about my own recovery and
using recognised tools such as motivational techniques, sign posting and peer support.

“I really enjoy my role and find it incredibly fulfilling. I see hope in people every day as they move forwards in their own recovery to reintegrate back into their communities as model citizens.

“After 20 years of addiction I managed to turn my own life around. I did the Peer Mentoring course through Multiple Choice in Leeds. This is where I realised my ambition of wanting to give back and help others in the way I had been helped.

“After Peer Mentoring I became a volunteer in Leeds and worked with clients suffering from addiction with multiple and complex needs. In June 2014 I became employed in Leeds as a Trainee Drug Practitioner and within nine months I had progressed to be a full time aftercare worker.”

Becky Carroll

Becky Carroll – Recovery Coordinator

“I am quite new to Forward Leeds, having worked for another drug treatment agency for the last seven years. I work in the Active Recovery team at Armley, a fast paced, busy team.

“I was quite nervous about the move to Forward Leeds as it’s the second biggest drug treatment service in the country, however the move has been fabulous!

“I am very passionate about my job and feel that every client no matter what their addiction, history or background deserves to be treated equally, fairly and have the opportunity to reach their potential and recovery goals.

“Our client group are complex, chaotic and hard to reach people who are often socially isolated, potentially we may be the only person they see that day! So it’s important to make that contact matter! I love my job it is very rewarding and seeing people move forwards and make positive changes to their lives is what makes it worthwhile!”

Richard Hedges – Recovery Coordinator

“My role entails promoting volunteering, both internally and externally, through recruitment & publicity strategies and campaigns. I generate appropriate volunteering opportunities and interview and recruit volunteers ensuring they are suitable and appropriately matched up with what we offer as a service.

“I also provide ongoing training and development as well as supervising, monitoring, supporting and motivating volunteers. I offer advice and information, to overcome any barriers volunteers may experience and to enhance their professional development.

“I enjoy my role and feel privileged to work with the volunteers, who continuously demonstrate such incredible commitment, drive and enthusiasm daily. I sometimes describe the role as relentless, spinning plates, and herding cats!”

Gemma Patterson

Gemma Patterson – Recovery Coordinator

“After making a big decision to change my career path I started working in the substance misuse field four and a half years ago. I have worked in Wakefield and Leeds and I have been with Forward Leeds from its creation.

“I work in the Active Recovery team, predominantly with criminal justice clients. This means I see my clients twice a week giving me lots of 1-2-1 contact and time to really get to know them and support them in changing behaviours. I also work closely with Probation and the Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) team.

“I work with some of the funniest, most dedicated, and hardworking people I know. This makes my job – which can be very demanding – so much easier and happier.

“Although very challenging, I adore my job. My clients are complex, amazing, people that need help and support to reach the best potential of who they can be and I get to be part of that recovery journey.”