Forward Leeds improves access to harm reduction in the city centre

Forward Leeds are opening a revamped and more accessible harm reduction and needle exchange facility at its Kirkgate hub.

A launch event at 2pm on 8th September at Forward Leeds will see clients, public health experts and other guests from the health and care sector have a chance to see the new changes to the facility.

Harm Reduction Team

Members of the Harm Reduction team

Margaret Lee, head of Harm Reduction at Forward Leeds said: ”Because the new harm reduction centre is right next to our front door, it’s going to be much easier for clients to visit us. We hope it will encourage people to come in for advice and support.”

Margaret continued: ”A lot of what we do is to help people stay safe and this means keeping the wider Leeds community safer too. We provide information around infections that can affect injecting drug users as well as supplying clean needles and safely disposing of used ones.

”This launch event will be a great chance to run some focus groups on ways we can reduce drug related waste in the community, such as the potential for installing needle safe bins across Leeds.”

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We are really excited about this relaunch, the new facility looks fantastic. The changes should see more people engaging with the service as a result of the improvements. The launch event will also be a really good opportunity to speak to service users from across the city, so we can help develop new ways to encourage the return and safe disposal of used needles.”

Also at the event, the Health Protection team from Leeds Council Public Health team will offer information about Group A Streptococcal (GAS) infection. In the past few months; Leeds has seen a number of case of this infection.

Refreshments will also be provided.