My Family, My Rights Programme Update

A powerful fist with a purple heart above itBack in October 2019, we announced that we were launching a new programme of work called My Family, My Rights. The programme sets out to help make sure that the rights and commitments outlined in the Scottish Government’s national alcohol and drug strategy ‘Rights, Respect and Recovery’ become reality for families across Scotland.

The strategy recognises that ‘The Whole Family Needs Support’, and defines families as ‘anyone who is concerned about someone else’s drug or alcohol use, including family members, Carers, friends, neighbours, siblings, older children, partners, parents, formal and informal kinship Carers, work colleagues, and anyone we may have missed.

Our My Family, My Rights programme includes:

  • My Family, My Rights events (in Glasgow, Scottish Highlands, and Fife)
  • Campaigning and awareness-raising so families are aware of their new rights commitments, how to access them and what to do if their rights are not upheld;
  • Learning and development – so families and the workforce can learn more about a rights-based approach for families and how to bring this to life;
  • Advocacy training for our staff and volunteers – so our work is embedded in a robust rights-based framework (working in partnership with Reach Advocacy); and
  • Advocacy support for families – so we can test out whether families need additional support to access their rights, and how this can best be delivered across Scotland.

So far we have had our events in the Scottish Highlands including Fort William, Inverness and, Wick. And we’ve also had our Glasgow event which included our AGM (Claire Wadsworth has written about the event below).

There has been a lot of planning with the advocacy training Reach Advocacy is delivering and our support staff member Gill Harmon will be taking on the training in the next few months. On our first week back from the Christmas holidays our staff team was trained by Patricia Clark from Carers Scotland in ‘Self Advocacy’ which was fantastic and very informative.

My Family, My Rights Glasgow Event

Young people performing a play
Young people from Routes performing ‘What About Us?’

Our My Family, My Rights Glasgow event was held in the beautiful Royal College of Physicians on St. Vincent Street in Glasgow on a grey November afternoon.

The cold weather was soon forgotten when family members, people in recovery and professionals gathered together to enjoy what was to become an afternoon of differing emotions.

Comedian Gary Little was the host for the event, and he soon had the audience in stitches with stories of his life growing up in Glasgow. He then introduced the young people from our Routes drama group to the stage.

‘I really enjoyed it, funny and very emotive too.’

After many weeks of blood, sweat and tears (from the Scottish Families staff!) the premiere of ‘What About Us?’ was finally here. The young performers were excited and anxious in equal measure. However they needn’t have worried, they pulled off an amazing performance that had most of the audience in tears. They showed unbelievable courage and strength to perform such an emotive play in front of such a large audience. You would never guess that none of them had ever done anything like this before. The first thing one of them said when they came off the stage was, ‘when can we do it again?!’

‘The drama was so powerful. Especially the idea around people wearing masks to hide what is going on. I couldn’t stop crying at that part as it really hit home.’

Other talented teenagers from Routes had their beautiful photographs on display in the hallway, depicting scenes of what was important to them and what made them feel safe.

‘It was an amazing and touching day, the girls did so well. It was a great insight into how much you help the families affected.’

But it wasn’t all about the youngsters, our very own Colin McIntosh spoke about his recovery and the impact his drinking had on his family. His heartbreakingly brave and honest account resonated with many of our audience members.

The event went a long way in breaking down stigma but also showing what it’s like for young people living in a home where drugs or alcohol are a normal sight. These young voices are not often heard, so it was lovely that they were being heard by such a receptive and encouraging audience.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made it the success it was and for your kind comments.

‘It was a mix of many emotions from extreme hilarity to deep pain. That’s the true nature of addiction for all involved. It was a wonderful reminder for us ladies in recovery what could have been, in some cases was and is now better. We all heal together which was the fabulous message we took away. We all love to be spoiled so the venue and food were exquisite. Here’s hoping 2020 brings a lot more families together in a healthy loving home free from addiction.’

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