25 April 2022

Working in partnership to support people recovering from addiction

As part of a district wide focus on issues around addiction, Woodlands Methodist Church in Glasgow has partnered with charities, government agencies and academics in a symposium and exhibition, ‘Recovery Rising’, to outline a vision of what services could look like if they were reoriented from the culture of addiction, to a culture of recovery.

Over 150 people working in the sector attended the event on 23 April including the Scottish Government Minister for Drugs Policy, Angela Constance and a dozen MPs and MSPs. The keynote speaker was Professor David Best, Europe's most eminent academic in this area. The symposium offered a space for reflection, to bring hope to the conversations, opportunities for participants and delegates to learn from each other and to network.

Laurent Vernet, minister from Woodlands Methodist Church, said:

“It is the mission of the church to offer a space for the community to meet – from Government ministers and law makers to those who live at the margin of society because of addiction.

“This symposium is focusing on the good news of recovery; how as a nation we can walk together to tackle this social challenge and offer hope in a new life to all the victims of addiction.”

“The Methodist Church in Strathclyde is exploring ways to collaborate and to partner with agencies and charities so the church brings what is unique to the policies… compassion and love by fighting stigma and blame and fear toward victims of addictions.”

Annemarie Ward, CEO of FavorUK, said: "FAVOR UK has worked with many organisations including the Methodist Church in Scotland to offer the first Recovery Conference in Glasgow putting Scotland's drug death crisis back on the agenda. Scotland remains the European lead in the number of drug related death. Such collaboration with the church is vital to address a challenge which must be the concern of the whole society. It is together that we will be able to move forward”.

Organisers plan to publish a report of the conference and it is hoped that there will be a further conference in the next six months to provide an update on evolution and progress.

The Scotland and Shetland District of the Methodist Church has a missional focus on addiction issues. On a recent visit to Glasgow, the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Sonia Hocks and Barbara Easton, signed a five point pledge to recognise the human rights to those in recovery from addiction.

Participant organisations in the symposium and exhibition included: the Methodist Churches in Strathclyde, Favor UK, The Bluevale Community Charity, SISCO, Street Connect, The Maxie Roberts Foundation and others.

Woodlands Methodist Church offers outreach and hospitality to the wider Glasgow community in a number of areas including having been the Methodist hub at the international climate conference, COP26, that took place in the city in 2021.

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