Adfam – State of the Drug and Alcohol Family Support Sector
Adfam, the national charity working to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol, have released their 2016 annual report into the state of the family support sector.
Each year Adfam draw upon their extensive network of experts in the field to create this report. As well as an online survey, Adfam conduct interviews with a mix of service managers across the UK and spanning a range of support service providers.
The report shines a light on the changing nature of the drink and drugs support sector with half of organisations reporting an evolution in how their services are provided. Shorter commissioning cycles and a preference in bids for larger organisations were also themes. In common with much of the voluntary sector, twice as many organisations report on falling funding as can report on increasing funding and many report that this issue is preventing the delivery of some key services. Many group supporting the families of people dealing with addiction are funded through local authority budgets and are effected by the squeeze on these funds.
The breadth and complexity of the services provided on a local basis is evident in the report. New psychoactive substances and mental health issues are common needs in the service user base. Although a similar theme can be found in many community services, the sector faces funding challenges at a time where service demand and a requirement to adapt is rising.
The groups that work with Adfam focus on the support required for the families of substance users. Although the climate for these groups might be challenging, many are incredibly positive about continuing to provide these invaluable services. Supported by an army of knowledgeable staff and (increasingly gap-filling) volunteers, morale in the sector remains high.