New head of Forward Leeds appointed

Helen Cook has been appointed as the new Operations Director for Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug support service.

Helen had previously been the Area Manager at west Leeds since 2018, based at the service’s hub in Armley.

Helen said: “I love working at Forward Leeds and I’m delighted to be taking on this new role. We are already one of the most successful services in the country – recently rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

“I plan on working closely with our outstanding staff and management team to keep improving the service we offer. I’d like to see us build on what we have already achieved and ensure we continue to provide the first-class support that the people of Leeds deserve.”

Helen has worked in alcohol and drug support services since 2001 when she completed her Masters in Criminal Justice at Durham University and began volunteering in North Shields.

After that Helen started work in alcohol and drug services in London becoming Service Manager at the Westminster Drugs Project (WDP) in 2010. In 2016 Helen relocated to the north of England becoming Service Manager at the Redcar and Cleveland alcohol and drug service.

The role of Operations Director at Forward Leeds will be key over the next few years as the service continues to expand following enhanced funding from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. This grant was part of a wider national push to create “world class” treatment services across England.