Volunteers helping hundreds of people recovering from addiction in Glasgow have received national recognition.
Glasgow's inspirational Recovery Communities have won the hotly-contested Volunteers Category of the prestigious Scottish Health Awards.
A network of groups across the city are helping people rebuild their lives as they recover from drug and alcohol addiction following treatment.
People who have overcome addiction themselves are using their personal experience to offer hope and advice as well as practical and emotional support to others in recovery.
Around 500 people a week take part in activities designed to tackle social isolation, promote positive choices, build self-esteem and repair fractured relationships. They range from art, cookery and exercise classes to health and beauty treatments and relaxation therapies. Professional counselling is on offer to those who want it and people can also learn new skills or improve their literacy and numeracy. Child care and family activities are also provided for parents who attend.
During the pandemic, support and activities have continued online and peer support from people with personal experience has proved especially important to help people remain abstinent.
The Recovery Communities operate alongside mainstream treatment services and are supported by the city's Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service.
One volunteer credits the Recovery Communities with saving her life.
She said: "It's fantastic that volunteers are being appreciated and recognised for the work they do. The Recovery Communities not only saved my life, they showed me how to live my life.
"When COVID stopped the recovery cafes it put a lot of fear in everyone, but we have adapted to help people stay connected and continue to provide support. The recovery community keeps growing and we are helping more and more people every day, saving lives."
More than a dozen people who volunteered at the Recovery Communities have gone on to study for professional qualifications which have helped them earn paid employment with Glasgow's Health & Social Care Partnership.
Carole Meakin of Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service, said: "It is fantastic that the volunteers have been recognised for the incredible work they do.
"They have really stepped up during COVID-19. The support they are providing has been absolutely crucial to keep people safe, not only away from drugs and alcohol, but helping with their mental health and well-being and reducing isolation for many who are shielding and live alone. It is amazing and a real privilege to see this level of support the volunteers are providing to help reduce drug and alcohol deaths in Glasgow."
Glasgow Recovery Communities are supported by Glasgow City HSCP staff and Recovery Coordinators, Glasgow Recovery Hubs, The Mungo Foundation and We Are With You.
The three Recovery Communities have previously won several awards including a Silver COSLA Excellence Award for Tackling Inequality and Improving Health, the Lord Provost's Volunteering Award and a Scottish Health Award for promoting Healthier Lifestyles.
Links to the recovery programmes are available at:-