Families Overcoming Addiction
Chair Person’s Annual Report 2019 – 2020
This is our second Annual Report since commencing operation in August 2017, the first, held in May last year, was our inaugural meeting and covered the first 18 months of FOA.
The past year has been one of strengthening, developing, consolidating and business as usual for Families Overcoming Addiction, and a year of growth and change for NZ’s addiction sector, resulting from the MH&A national review, He Ara Oranga, we have seen a level of consultation and willingness for change which has been unprecedented for New Zealand’s addiction services.
FOA began the year anticipating a possible amalgamation or partnership with Supporting Families Taranaki. As the year progressed, changes within both the S.F. organisation and DHB Funding & Planning had us rethinking our strategy and we continued to seek and secure funding through TSB Community Trust and NPDC, while we considered our options.
Our TSB Trust grant was approved and duly celebrated by our Board in July 2019, being our largest grant received to that date, so supported with generous donations from two of our families, the Board, went out for a lovely meal together to mark the occasion. More on other funding later. . . .
In addition to support and information for families accessing our service, FOA has participated and collaborated with community and regional activities related to addiction and recovery. These include:
- TDHB Alcohol & Drug Service Opiate Substitution Treatment Audit. Four family members met with the DHB Family Advisor, Jim Dickinson, to provide feedback and offer suggestions for service improvement as part of an external audit conducted at A&D.
- Midland Regional Health’s Spring newsletter – we submitted an article which showcased our service and described the benefits of providing family support for those whose loved ones are living in addiction.
- Alcohol Standards Authority – we made a submission expressing the family view towards proposed changes to Alcohol Advertising legislation.
- Flourishing Communities – An article was forwarded (on request) to the DHB Consumer Advisor and Midland Regional Addiction Framework to support work being undertaken to redesign addiction services, reflecting the recommendations from the national MH&A service review and stating the family viewpoint.
- MSD Social Services Sector – we attend their quarterly network meetings.
- DHB Recovery Training – we present an overview and rationale around our service as part of MH&A staff training, which describes why, how and by whom families need to be supported.
- MH & Addictions Wellbeing Framework Wananga, Rotorua – 7 people from our service and their family members attended the full-day workshop, our Facilitator assisting in the design and delivery of the workshop – this was a commitment of several months’ work by our Facilitator and considerable dedication from the families and service users who attended.
- MH & Addictions Cross-Sector Workshop at Okaiawa Marae – this was part of the local consolidation of the work being done at a regional and national level to reshape services – several of our members attended. This lead to Channa Perry extending her relationship with FOA.
- Taranaki Addiction Services – Family and service users’ consultation Hui – Owae Marae. Channa Perry, as Addiction Funding & Planning Portfolio Manager, facilitated this Hui with MOH Addiction Lead, Richard Taylor in attendance. Addiction service users and families were the focus of the day-long meeting and the aim was to develop a new service delivery model for Taranaki addiction services based on peer and family lived experience.
- Media interviews – Taranaki Daily News interviewed our Facilitator with Pene Te Puni from the DHB about the increasing incidence of methamphetamine use in Taranaki. FOA opinion was also sought for comment by Taranaki Daily News and Channel 3’s Newshub re the effect of Covid-19 lock-down in relation to alcohol & drugs.
- SACAT Review – Eseta Nonu-Reid from Midland approached us for feedback and wanted to speak with families who had experience with SACAT. No families had been able to use the Act, so our feedback was that the criteria needs amending to make the Act more fit-for-purpose. We have since (post review) had one family succeed in using the Act, with robust input from Dr Bell at A&D, and a successful result for the family.
- Salvation Army Presentations – We deliver “You and Your Family in Recovery” which will be a regular educational presentation for the recovery residents and staff at Salvation Army Bridge programme.
In March we received the resignation of Elayne Kessler. Elayne served as a valued Board member for twelve months and we thank her and are pleased that she remains connected to us as a FOA group member.
In March we welcomed Raewyn Yiannett as a returning Board member – Raewyn was a founding member of FOA in 2017 and we are delighted to have her back on our Board. Raewyn takes on the role of Self-Care promoter, responsible for new Self-Care gifts for group members.
After the end of the financial year, on 4/05/2020, Kirsty Porter announced she is stepping down as Treasurer for FOA. Kirsty is a founding member and, as co-treasurer with Chris Agnew, has served tirelessly since our beginning. We wish to express our gratitude to Kirsty for her diligent and professional book keeping skills. Kirsty steps down from her Treasury role at this AGM and we gratefully acknowledge and thank Chris, who will continue on as Treasurer.
I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our Board members – Angela Mason, our ever-capable and efficient Secretary; Lynne Cameron – without who we would not have our important first point of contact Families Overcoming Addiction website, Karen Leonard – our tireless and tenacious Queen of funding applications; Raewyn Yiannett – Self-Care co-ordinator who ensures people are presented with our beautiful gift packs; Kirsty Porter (retiring) and Chris Agnew –Treasurers who have kept our figures and accounts in immaculate order. Thank you all.
The following training opportunities were undertaken by Board members this year:
- “When Helping Others Hurts” – Half day training by Tricia Hendry, The Grief Centre, delivered at The Plymouth Hotel. Kirsty & Sue attended.
- Peter Linden James – 1-day workshop presentation in Petone re Shalom House’s methamphetamine addiction and treatment and the family role. Angela & Sue attended.
We look forward to increased opportunities for training in the coming year as we set out to grow, expand and strengthen our organisation as per our new DHB contract agreement.
Visitors & Presenters at group:
Throughout this year we had visits from:
- Christian Motorcycle Club – These three inspirational men shared their recovery stories and offered the opportunity for young people to connect with mentors who can support a healthy-living, recovery-focused approach.
- Francesca Eldridge, Registered Nutritionist – An interesting presentation for families which focused on gut-brain health, nutrition and techniques for stress relief to support our wellbeing.
- TDHB Family Advisor – Jimi Ropiha-Stewart attended the group to gather feedback for the A&D service and to share information about service development & changes. The DHB have since provided us with feedback forms to be used for this purpose.
- Channa Perry, Funding & Planning MH&Addictions Portfolio Manager – as mentioned earlier, following the Okaiawa Marae Hui, Channa strengthened her relationship with FOA, attending the group to listen, enquire and share ideas with us relating to future developments in addiction services, developing peer-led services and the possibility of FOA securing funding from MoH via the DHB as a Family Peer Support service. Channa consequently attended our November Board meeting and encouraged us to submit a funding proposal – which we did the following week. This is the first time anyone from Funding & Planning has ever visited our family support group and we were gratefully appreciative and felt validated by Channa’s open, transparent and collaborative approach.
During 2019-2020, with a focus on promoting self-care, we developed a Self-Care Gift Pack (mentioned above) which includes a Gratitude Journal, well-being resources and treats. This pack is now given to family members to encourage a focus on planned and purposeful nurturing of self.
Our FOA service evaluation forms have been revamped and circulated, yielding a positive response from those accessing the service. This evaluation process is due to be repeated in coming months.
New Contact and Consent forms have been added to our Welcome Folder, enabling us to capture more detailed and relevant information about those accessing our service, and to meet the compliance requirements of MoH.
Spreadsheets for Monthly Stats and a Referral Register have been developed as an upgrade to our record keeping.
In July 2019 it was noted that an increasing number of families identify methamphetamine as their person’s substance of choice. It was decided to use records – past, present and future – to map the annecdotal reporting of methamphetamine. Stats are now being recorded and are available for anyone to view by request to the Chair.
We now have a new coloured brochure for promotional purposes. This is distributed, along with our business cards, at relevant services around New Plymouth. (Please advise if your organisation requires more).
Six new chairs were purchased for our group room – to accommodate our growing group.
In mid-March we activated internet banking for the first time – just in time to simplify our financial operations as we encountered Covid-19 lockdown.
A momentous occasion for us on 19 March: the signing of our new DHB contract. The deliverables for this contract will set us on a path of growth and expansion as we head into 2020-21. However, this occurred precisely on the cusp of the coronavirus pandemic and we remain to see what ongoing implications may occur. More on that later. . . .
In July 2019 we received a TSB Community Trust grant of $10,000.
In September 2019 we received NPDC grant of $6000.
In March 2020 we received confirmation of a quarter payment (final ¼ of the 19-20 financial year) of funding through DHB, $13544 – this was not deposited until 20 April, so will show in next year’s accounts – along with the MoH new contract funding – a significant financial milestone for FOA.
Donations – We have continued to be wonderfully supported by a number of individuals from within our service and the community. More details will be discussed in the Treasurer’s financial report. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has supported us in this way. During these fledgling years of FOA, we would not have been able to run as smoothly, or perhaps to continue at all, if it were not for your generous donations. We thank you.
The following statistics are recorded for 1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020:
Group Attendance – 682 (Increase of 15% from last year – 573)
New Referrals – 54 (Decrease of 10% from last year – 60)
One-on-One Sessions – 202 : 46 Face-to-face and 156 Phone ( Increase of 238% – 85 last year)
This is a considerable increase and one which will require addressing with new training and service development as we work towards achieving the deliverables of our new DHB contract.
Website – Our website remains an important first point of contact for many, and a source of information, connection and hope for families seeking support. We collect monthly stats from the site, enabling us to monitor and enhance its effectiveness.
Like the rest of the country (and most of the world) late March saw our face-to-face meetings cease as we switched temporarily to remote supports for our families. A system was put in place where people could contact the Facilitator by text to request a phone call. Some people preferred email or texts to preserve privacy during lockdown. A message was placed on our website and emails and texts have been sent to family members to advise and update as the lock down period progresses. For those families who chose not to contact our service, an outreach roster was used for regular check-ins, connecting with people to offer support.
Zoom meetings are being used for business and Board meetings.
Most families have reported a reasonably smooth experience of lock down. However, there are some for whom it has been a highly stressful time, with escalated anxiety for them and/or their person with addiction. For some there have been crisis call-outs, police interventions, restraining orders, mental health ward admissions, job and accommodation losses and, sadly, suicide attempts. Supporting these families remotely, by telephone, has been challenging and it is heartening to know there are other services who have been available to share the load as we move through this unprecedented time.
As this report is written, we have just resumed face-to-face group meetings, which have been well attended and run with relevant health safety precautions. We share with families in expressing relief and joy in being able to continue the work which is our passion and our purpose.
Thank you. Sue Philipson.