DayMer Drugs and Alcohol Advice Services
The centre runs a drugs awareness project with the support of local DAT for the course of the last financial year. The post holder worked to provided up-to-date information about drugs and services available to the community and has established satellite centres such as one is local health centres and drug’s agencies to provide a first point of contact for clients from the T/K communities. The funding for this project has come to an end though a pending bid is very likely to result in the continuation of this work on a permanent basis from the centre.
Day-Mer's engagement with the local Drug Action Team emerged from a needs assessment research project carried out with the University of Lancashire in 2001. This identified what were the needs of the community in relation to drug services. Some of the key needs identified were for mother-tongue workers in mainstream agencies, mother-tongue information, campaigns to make the community aware of the culture of drug services, work with community organizations to engage them with mainstream agencies, and to work with young people and parents in the community to help bridge the experience gap between youth street life and Turkish speaking and Kurdish community life.
A second piece of research was done with the University and The Mayor’s office into the experience of young people. While this was an excellent report with very moving accounts of people's experience, it has not led to any tangible London wide activity for refugees coming from that office.
Day-Mer is now completing a third piece of research into the experience of Turkish speaking and Kurdish people around community safety issues, arising out of crimes in the area which have had a negative impact on the image and experience of the community as a whole. One of the outcomes of this research will be the setting up of a cross-borough forum of Turkish speaking and Kurdish community groups. If this forum functions in a real and meaningful way, it can have a great impact on the workings of these organizations and the lives of the people they serve.
Useful initiatives that work in one area can be replicated in another, resources and experiences can be shared, campaigns can be run in a coherent and co-coordinated way that can impact on the whole community, service providers can have access to every section of the Turkish speaking and Kurdish community through one body. The service providers in all areas need this just as much as the community organizations need it. It is the responsibility of each and every member organization to ensure that it does work. This can mean putting aside religious, cultural, political and personal differences and putting the needs of the community as a whole at the centre of debate and discussion.
The Hackney Drug Action Team has been funding education and development work in Day-Mer. This initially took the form of support for alternative activities that included youth type activities and support for social events. Day-Mer has engaged with the Black and Minority Ethnic Forum and has been working to promote this model of working to other Drug Action Teams. The work of the forum has focused on building the capacity of members from many different refugee communities to deliver education and information campaigns to their community. In Day-Mer this has taken the form of developing and distributing mother-tongue information, visiting parents in their homes, removing the taboos around substance misuse by making it a commonly talked about problem, educating staff, management committee and volunteers about substance misuse and the services and treatment options available, participating in various researches and working to develop the cross borough forum.
With the continued support of the Hackney DAT, this work can only be good for the community and can begin the long process of ensuring that Turkish speaking and Kurdish people have equal access to all the treatment options for drug and alcohol problems which are affecting this community as a whole as surely as they are affecting the rest of society.