Staff photo and pink continuum Staff photo and pink continuum Staff photo and pink continuum
Change grow live continuum

We are change, grow, live

We are a social care and health charity that supports and enables people to change their lives for the better and achieve positive and life-affirming goals.

We work with adults, young people and families whose lives are affected by substance misuse, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, domestic abuse, mental health issues and offending.

Our efficient and transferable delivery model is underpinned by strong research, quality improvement, shared learning and governance. Using an innovative, peer-led approach we enable and empower recovery communities throughout England and Wales.

We are proud to have a professional and skilled workforce, including many highly specialised roles. This expertise and experience enables us to provide safe, effective and personalised care for our service users.

Our new name and brand identity, adopted in April 2016, reflect our ambition to offer new services in new fields where people are looking to transform their lives for the better.

what's changed

Icon showing a head and brain
Tackling NPS harms

We've launched a national strategy to respond to the growing use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), delivering bespoke treatment interventions and training programmes to reduce harm and save lives. Read more

NPS use continues to increase and is a particular problem in custodial settings and prisons. From April 2015 to January 2016 we saw a 75% increase in NPS users.

This year we worked closely with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to develop a national response.

We have designed evidence-based treatment programmes that are bespoke to the substances used and the type of users we are seeing. These treatment programmes are based on psycho-education, self-monitoring, cognitive behavioural techniques, cognitive mapping and relapse management. They include validated screening and assessment tools alongside the best international evidence of which treatments work to reduce harm and promote recovery.

During the year we trained 150 healthcare professionals to identify and treat NPS. We also developed new and effective ways of supporting and treating people who use NPS in prisons. We trained prison officers and partners in a number of prisons, to raise awareness and increase their understanding of NPS issues.

Investors in people logo
Investing in people

Our commitment to outstanding people management, leadership, communications and training was recognised in 2016 through the award of Investors in People (IIP) silver status. Read more

We aim to establish an effective and positive working environment for our staff; doing so goes far beyond meeting the requirements of IIP.

We are proud to have achieved silver status in this internationally respected award. Only 6% of the thousands of organisations that seek Investors in People accreditation receive the prestigious silver rating.

Investing in our 3,640 staff is critical to our ability to provide high quality services in an ever-changing sector. We offer our staff opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge and take measures to support their health and wellbeing.

Of the staff members that took part in our 2016 staff survey, 71% felt their role made a difference for service users and 64% felt they were able to make improvements happen in their area of work. 62% of participants were happy with the recognition they received for good work, and 82% were happy with the support received from colleagues.

The shared values base of our organisation was recognised by the IIP assessors and is apparent in the day-to-day behaviour and approach of all our staff.

Mobile and tablet icons
Driving innovation

We completed an ambitious IT modernisation programme this year to integrate our support services, underpin future expansion and drive forward innovative models of service delivery Read more

We have invested heavily in information technology over the past two years. Our frontline service delivery is now supported by integrated IT, HR, finance, data analysis and clinical governance systems, making our services safer and more effective.

Our new IT system provides the processing power to deliver large-scale services for significant numbers of people working across wide geographical areas. The system uses an industry-leading, state of the art 'private cloud' IT system, which has the security and flexibility to support mobile working in local communities.

Outline of people
Investing in our volunteers

During the year our 1,860 unpaid workers (including volunteers, counsellors, peer mentors, social work students and service user representatives) delivered over 423,000 hours of support across the country. Read more

Our volunteers and peer mentors support others to meet the challenge of changing their lives. We know the skills and experiences of volunteers make a difference to those who use our services, inspiring them to persevere with their goals and offering positive role models. Volunteers also provide an integral link between our services and the communities they support.

Last year just under 1,000 of our volunteers were awarded with a qualification and 229 found employment during the year. Hundreds more grew in confidence and gained new personal skills and improved self-esteem.

Magnifying glass icon
Conducting research

Our research examining the impact of post-discharge telephone check-ins was recently published in the Journal of Substance Misuse. Read more

We piloted post-discharge telephone check-ins to measure substance misuse clients' recovery through the use of the Treatment Outcomes Profile (TOP).

The purpose of the research was to examine the effectiveness of these check-ins on re-presentation rates and determine whether a case could be made for extending these check-ins across CGL.

The cohort consisted of 1,145 adult clients classified across four main drug groups: any opiate; alcohol only; non-opiate and alcohol and non-opiate only. The cohort clients needed to have had a planned discharge from CGL services, been out of treatment for at least six months, and had a post-exit TOP within this 6 month period.

Over the six months from discharge, there was a considerable reduction in the re-presentation rates for those clients who received a check-in, relative to CGL national averages and PHE averages.

Fewer than one-in-ten patients (7%) who received follow up calls returned to acute treatment within six months, compared with a national average of one-in-five patients (19%).

Results for patients who were treated for alcohol addiction were also promising. Fewer than one in thirty patients (3%) who received follow-up calls returned to treatment within six months, compared with a national average of one-in-ten patients (10%).

Changes in practice

Group photo from london pride
Diversity and inclusion

We have done more than ever to ensure our 160 services offer an inclusive environment that values the contribution of everyone and is welcoming and responsive to the needs of people from different backgrounds. Read more

We recognise the importance of ensuring our services are accessible to all regardless of someone's protected characteristic. Our goal is to improve access to our services and promote health and wellbeing.

We have developed guidance and toolkits to support a more consistent approach to engaging with hard to reach and marginalised people.

This work is supported by a National EDI lead and 28 Inclusion Champions, who we have recruited from among our staff group and volunteers. Our Inclusion Champions work within our services to further promote inclusivity and have supported a number of local projects including:

  • Campaigns and initiatives to help meet the needs of service users with a protected characteristic.

  • Facilitating partnership work with BME community-based organisations such as KIKIT in Birmingham.

  • Support for gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) that are engaged in Chemsex.

  • Establishing local LGBT forums within the local Borough such as in Lewisham.

Group from inspire east lancs looking at a screen
Online recovery support

Our East Lancashire Inspire service is demonstrating innovative ways of working through online recovery support for people who are unable to access the service in person. Read more

Inspire is pioneering digital interventions as an alternative means of engaging people who can't attend services. In addition to texts, emails and phone calls, the team's digital practitioner also offers people the option to complete assessments and worksheets electronically.

Service users can ask questions using live chat on the service website and the team also use conference calls to offer virtual group sessions to those who cannot attend in person. Digital interventions can be particularly useful for people who are in full time employment.

In one instance, a service user with an alcohol problem was able to receive one-to-one appointments digitally through his chosen means of phone and email. Controlled drinking maps, drink diaries and advice and key working sessions were completed over the phone, as with the service user setting goals and making changes in his day-to-day life. Follow-up emails and texts were used post discharge to help check that the service user was keeping on top of his recovery goals, with further follow-up support available if needed.

Members of staff from t3 with some students
Multiagency working

More than 71% of young people engaging with our Staffordshire T3 young people's service benefited from multi-agency interventions as a result of outstanding partnership working across the county Read more

T3 Staffordshire recognises that to make a real difference, services must have an impact on all areas of a young person's life. The service works across Staffordshire in areas that vary in their ethnicity, deprivation, and problematic issues: districts where a 'one size fits all' approach just does not work.

The team links in with schools, colleges, youth offending services, police, social care, local support teams, Families First and Intensive Prevention Services, care homes, mental health services and adult drug and alcohol transition services.

A particularly effective partnership with Staffordshire County Council Intensive Prevention Service involves the team supporting young people on the cusp of care to support them to live at home or return home.

This willingness to work together with and alongside other teams has produced fantastic results.

  • The team had a target to see 860 young people over the year, including individuals and outreach groups, and actually engaged with 970. 99% of young people were seen within 3 weeks.

  • 272 young people received specialist substance misuse interventions.

  • 87% of planned discharges were achieved against a national average of 79%*.

  • 98% of young people received psychosocial interventions against a national average of 90%*.

  • 98% of young people received harm reduction advice against a national average of 56%*.

  • * Source: PHE

how we've grown

Blue continuum
Our new name

Change, grow, live perfectly sums up what we do as an organisation. Our bright and vibrant new brand puts our people, and the positive impact of our services, front and centre of the organisation. Read more

Our new name is an expression of the journey of recovery many of our service users take. We empower them to change the direction of their lives, grow as people and live their lives to their full potential.

Our brand is designed to increase our appeal to people dealing with a range of health and social care challenges and encourage them to find out more about what we do. We will use our new brand to reach out to more people and demonstrate the impact we can make across communities seeking change.

Needles icon
Life-saving naloxone

72 of our services have naloxone champions who are working nationwide to prevent death from overdose by distributing naloxone kits and training drug users, families, carers, staff and professionals to save lives. Read more

We launched our national naloxone strategy in October 2015 and we are now providing overdose aid and promoting harm reduction across the country.

Between February and June 2016 we issued 3,288 naloxone kits and trained 3,401 frontline members of staff, people who use substances, their friends, family members and professionals to use the life-saving antidote*. 138 naloxone kits were used in overdose situations by our staff, meaning potentially 138 lives were saved in the first five months of the programme.

Since launching the strategy, we have worked with a wide range of agencies including ambulance services, lifeguards and the police to raise awareness, increase accessibility and effective administration in overdose situations.

The training programme will be extended over the coming year to include volunteers and peer mentors, individuals in prisons and young people.

*This includes training some people more than once

Speech bubbles
Widening access to mental health services

The Atlantic Recovery Centre in Dudley has created community pathways for assessment and referral for common mental health problems, Dual Diagnosis and serious mental illness. Read more

Working in partnership with local mental health trusts, the Atlantic Recovery Centre bridges the gap between substance misuse services and adult mental health services by tailoring specialised care packages for patients who historically were not engaged by mental health services.

The service employs two dedicated Community Psychiatric Nurses who attend morning meetings and hold a Mental Health Assessment and Review clinic every two weeks. The nurses are supported by a Consultant Psychiatrist specialising in Dual Diagnosis, an Occupational Health Therapist specialising in Anxiety Management, and Specialist case workers.

The team manages all elements of a patient's care from prescribing through to psychosocial interventions, community building and aftercare.

Of 622 service users analysed last year, 76% reported an improvement in their psychological health.

Hand icon with a heart
Keeping families together

Our Spectrum drug and alcohol service in Hertfordshire has developed a new model of safeguarding and support for vulnerable families that is helping to keep families together. Read more

Spectrum has improved outcomes for local families by developing a county-wide approach to safeguarding which pools expertise and identifies opportunities to make a difference. The team brings together mental health workers, substance misuse professionals, social workers and experts in domestic abuse. This has led to innovative ways of working with vulnerable families that focus on assessing risks quickly and comprehensively and improving their access to a variety of support.

This multidisciplinary approach has improved information sharing and risk analysis and enabled staff to feel well supported in their work. Spectrum staff have also demonstrated real skill in engaging with parents and gaining their trust and confidence to commit to change programmes. As a result more families have been able to stay together safely.

The new approach to family safeguarding has received a lot of praise, with Ofsted mentioning it in their 2016 report and the county council's Director of Family Safeguarding commending the improvements it has made to the county's child protection services.

Cycling icon
Health and wellbeing

Service user-led initiatives at our Slough treatment service have encouraged people to participate in sport and social activities to improve their physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. Read more

Slough treatment service provides drug and alcohol users with fast and easy access to specialist and bespoke treatment, advice and continuing support in community locations. Service users have led the development of activities to build people's recovery capital such as a football team, a cricket team, charity fundraising through sponsored swimming events, involvement in service design, attendance at all recovery walks and regular peer support groups.

Partnership working has also played a part in promoting community engagement and encouraging people to participate in healthy activities to support their recovery journey. These partnerships recognise that effective drug and alcohol treatment needs to be integrated with other interventions that address the range of the individual's needs, including around offending, employment and housing.

Growing our impact

Three female staff members
Clinical excellence

Our Manchester Integrated Drug and Alcohol Service (MIDAS) is an example of how we engage with professionals in a joined-up approach to clinical governance to improve safety and prescribing outcomes. Read more

MIDAS has established a city-wide professional advisory group to share good practice and innovations and ensure governance is overseen at a city-wide strategic level. The group is chaired by the MIDAS consultant and is attended by the lead commissioner along with representatives from the police, the mental health trust, the CCG and pharmacy leads. Monthly clinical meetings provide an opportunity to discuss service users with complex needs and agree and monitor appropriate actions.

Specific targeted engagement sessions are provided for people with complex needs who are traditionally seen as hard to engage. These include engagement sessions at the female street sex workers project, at supported housing hostels and with a GP to provide access to services for the homeless population, including clinical treatment.

Prescribers and nurses are supported via a range of forums including monthly group meetings to share good practice and ensure staff work in accordance with clinical policy. These also provide an opportunity to share learning around the management of complex cases.

Opiate completion rates in Manchester are above average with 2,000 service users seen during the 12 months from April 2015 to end of March 2016.

The Stockton team
Tackling opiate use

Our Stockton Recovery service increased successful opiate detox completions by 73% from April 2015 to March 2016 through targeted interventions designed to maximise success. Read more

Stockton drug and alcohol recovery service works with people who use substances, including opiates, NPS and non-opiate drugs such as powder cocaine and cannabis. Over the past year, the team has introduced various measures to increase the numbers of people undergoing successful opiate detox.

The team analysed data on drug usage to identify and focus on those individuals who were most ready for detox. People were helped to plan and prepare for detox and overcome any barriers to participation.

Staff were also motivated to create a positive and energetic environment that would inspire people to succeed. Staff produced a detox handbook to help people work through their issues in advance and created a dedicated space in the project building where people could come to relax and find peer support during their detox. In addition to attending the service for medical checks and to receive medication for symptom management, people were also encouraged to participate in groups to keep them busy and diverted.

Photo from peer mentor graduation
Successfully mobilising services

We successfully transferred 2,394 service users into our Nottinghamshire New Directions drug and alcohol service and widened access to treatment throughout the county. Read more

Working closely with Nottingham County Council, we developed four treatment hubs which deliver integrated recovery services in community settings across Nottinghamshire.

Key features of the new service include:

  • The effective use of data to improve service offers (e.g. national mortality rates and coroner activities).

  • Integrated working models with family services to support wider family needs, assessments and referrals.

  • Weekly complex health needs (e.g. Hep-C treatment) clinics in our centres.

  • Links with probation, housing, education and local and national charities to ensure effective referrals.

  • Community outreach and engagement events, information and brief interventions.

Last year the numbers of service users accessing the service had increased to 4,296.

"We have been very impressed with CGL and their swift mobilisation...managed effectively within very tight timescales. Local relationships and partnerships are developing well and dialogue between CGL and commissioners is frequent, open and honest. CGL have a very positive, proactive and outcome focussed approach."

Tristan Snowdon-Poole, Public Health Manager, Nottinghamshire County Council, 2015

Group photo at Sparkbrook clean up
Digitally enabled

80% of our frontline staff at our Reach Out Recovery service in Birmingham work remotely, delivering services in the heart of the community. Read more

Reach Out Recovery (ROR) is working to increase access to services for larger numbers of people through innovative services delivered digitally in the community.

Equipped with mobiles and tablet devices, frontline workers spend just one day a week in the central hub, and devote the rest of their time to working out in the community, engaging with people on their doorsteps.

This flexible system gives staff instant access to case notes, forms, toolkits and other resources whilst on the move. This cuts down on staff travel time between base and service delivery locations and frees up more time for direct client interaction.

Recovery workers aren't burdened by reams of paperwork. Instead, all service user information is captured via their tablet (including service user signatures) and immediately saved to the case management system.

Not only does this paperless approach ensure more accurate data reporting and increased information security, it completely streamlines the administrative process for Recovery Coordinators, allowing them to spend more time working directly with the people using our services.

ROR worked with 7,897 clients during 2015/16 (or 5,000 every day) and helped 811 people beat their addiction.

lives we've changed

Our year in numbers

Map icon with 110,000

We worked with over 110,000 people across England and Wales on their journey to recovery.

Graph showing 31%

Fewer people returned to services for additional support after leaving (31% better than the national average).

Brain icon with 8,300 shown

In our four mental health services, 95% of clients had a positive completion or were transferred for further treatment last year.

Arrow icon showing 13,000

More than 13,000 people beat their addiction with us last year.

People icons showing eight out of ten

Last year, eight out of ten young people leaving structured treatment had overcome their substance misuse.

Heart icon showing seven out of ten

Seven out of ten people say their quality of life had improved by the time they finished treatment with us.

Family illustration showing 83%

83% of families that left our family services last year had a positive outcome.

Speech bubbles showing 10,902

Staff undertook 10,902 hours of direct family contact in CGL family services last year.

Communications icons showing 2.6 million

CGL staff make about 2.6 million client contacts a year.

Door showing 9 out of 10

9 out of 10 service users who were offending when they joined us, had stopped offending by the time they left (self-reported).

The differences we've made to lives and communities

Photo of a woman drinking coffee
Lisa's story

The Halton drug and alcohol project helped Lisa* overcome problems with alcohol and recover her former life. After training as a peer mentor and recovery champion she is now a project coordinator. Read more

"I gave up an exciting career in the music industry to care for my mum with Alzheimer's. I was in a violent and abusive relationship and moved back in with my parents when I had my son. I was also caring for my older brother who had become paralysed and also suffered with alcoholism.

I'd used drugs and alcohol recreationally in the past and I increasingly turned to them to help cope with the stress and isolation. My mum died and ten months later my dad died of asbestos-related cancer. Losing both parents so close together really knocked me.

My brother had gone into a care home but I allowed him back when dad died. We had a disagreement and he locked me out. He told social services I had neglected my son and gone back to a violent situation so my son was taken into care.

With nowhere else to go and grieving, I returned to my ex but he was still controlling and abusive. Social services referred me to drug and alcohol services but I didn't engage. After my ex attacked me again I finally went to the police and moved to a refuge, but life was difficult there so I used to go to friends' houses and my drinking became worse.

I got my own place but my son stayed in care as I was convinced he was better off without me. My self-belief and self-worth were at an all-time low and my only constant was whisky and cocaine.

When I met my current partner he encouraged and supported me to go to my local CGL service. He believed in me, and I started to believe in myself for the first time in a long time. A new social worker got me on track with some straight talking. I'd met my partner, got my flat and got my boy back from care.

I've now been completely abstinent for over four and half a years and done so many positive things. I became a peer mentor and volunteer then a recovery champion and am now a coordinator. I'm enjoying lots of different challenges and experiences, which are supporting me to keep working on my own recovery and grow and develop. It's fantastic. I've got a happy little boy and a wonderful home and work life!"

*name changed to protect identity

Photo of children at an activity park
Healthy choices

117 young people faced new challenges and learnt to make healthy lifestyle choices through an innovative environmental programme of outdoor learning and experiences run by the DAYS project. Read more

Our Drug and Alcohol Youth Support (DAYS) project runs a six-week outdoor diversionary programme for young people with substance misuse issues in Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent.

The programme, called Seed, is based on the forest schools ethos which seeks to inspire and empower young people to learn and grow through outdoor play.

As well as dealing with issues around substance misuse, the course also includes learning skills such as peer support, communication, self-esteem and confidence building, fire safety, environmental skills, shelter building and anger management.

The young people who attend also get a full day's mark at school which helps to improve their overall attendance for the term. The content of the programme has also been adapted to enable siblings and concerned others to take part.

Photo of carl
Carl's story

The East Lancashire Inspire service helped Carl overcome problems with drugs and alcohol and live a fulfilling new life. Carl now volunteers for the service and sits on the Service User Council. Read more

"I started drinking at 10 and used heroin for the first time when I was 12. I would go under the radar and my drug use was seriously dangerous. When I moved house I was transferred to CGL (then CRI) for my methadone script. Going to CGL was the biggest shock for me. People were nice to me.

I didn't like it at first, I didn't want to talk to anybody, didn't understand the word recovery, I wasn't interested in going to groups. I didn't trust anyone, which is common for addicts. I was angry, and I was frightened, so I acted out. You could call me a 'complex case'!

Then things changed. I got a new key worker and I started to listen. She believed in me, and she was always there behind me.

CGL doesn't discriminate, so whatever your background, don't be afraid to go to a service. I'm now two years clean, volunteering for CGL and a member of the service user council. I'm proof that recovery is really possible."

Prison peer mentors

An established peer mentor programme in HMP Belmarsh is transforming the lives of participants, giving them a sense of achievement and the opportunity to support others to overcome addiction Read more

The HMP Belmarsh peer mentor scheme is designed for people who have overcome problems with drugs and alcohol and wish to inspire others to break free from their addiction.

The scheme is the only one of its kind in a Category A prison (holding the highest risk offenders). Participants undertake an accredited Level 2 National Open College Network Diploma in peer mentoring and drugs and alcohol. The six week course teaches communication skills, motivation, assertiveness, learning styles, and conflict resolution.

At the end of the course participants take part in a graduation ceremony in front of an invited audience, which includes their families, prison staff, commissioners and support services.

Upon release peer mentors can access volunteering programmes in the community with our projects, which gives them the confidence to do positive things on release, gain paid employment and ultimately rehabilitate themselves.

We have produced a video featuring the experiences of three peer mentors and a graduate of the scheme who went on to volunteer in our Bromley Drug and Alcohol Service on release.

looking forward

Watch our Chief Executive, David Biddle, summarise our plans for the upcoming year.