Western Drug and Alcohol Forums
Western Connections Service facilitates 3 Drug and Alcohol Forums based in Foyle, Omagh and Fermanagh, covering the whole of the Western Trust Area.
The Forum’s were established in 2003 with the aim of reducing Drug and Alcohol related harm in the community. The primary goal of the Forums is to enhance Drug and Alcohol Services by strengthening partnerships, and working in collaboration with a range of key agencies to create a community mobilisation approach in tackling drug and alcohol issues at a local level.
Forums develop their indigenous drug and alcohol plans that are specific to the needs of that community. These plans are reviewed yearly and are influenced by the WDACT strategic plan and the New Strategic Direction for Drugs and Alcohol. The Forums also act as a conduit to facilitate the WDACT Strategic Plans and directives on the ground. WDACT and the Forums are intrinsically linked which helps to maximise resources and expertise in addressing drug or alcohol issues that are impacting our communities.
The Forum’s vision is to reduce the harm associated with alcohol and drug misuse within the Western Trust area.
Its roles include:
- Coordination of the range of services addressing alcohol and drug misuse in the area.
- Communication of the available services to the community and workers in the area.
- Promote collaboration between the providers focusing on prevention, supply reduction and intervention.
- Support the workforce in the area through the dissemination of information, awareness raising and training through a yearly seminar.
- To work within the guidelines of the NSD.
- To assist in the rolling out and promoting all PHA Drug & Alcohol Campaigns.
- Share information between the providers of services regarding trends, uptake of support and gaps in services.
- Priorities are set annually following Planning Meetings and direction from WDACT.
What do the Forums do?
One of our main campaigns is Dry January and the Forums feed into this annually in supporting its facilitation. This can be helping with the practical matters within organising events, giving ideas, information and contacts that will be useful or promoting and encouraging public and service users to attend and participate. As well as promoting the campaigns through use of their social media platforms.
For instance, we had fully booked venues in Omagh, Fermanagh and Foyle for 3 different Dry Wit Comedy Night’s that are held in promotion of Dry January. The Dry Wit events are now in their third year and growing each time due to the work of the Forums and the coverage they receive- so much so we have seen it filter out into other areas of NI for the Dry January campaign.
The Forums meet 6 times a year on a bi-monthly basis and provide a great networking opportunity for members to work in partnership with other organisations. Membership is made up from a range of agencies such as PSNI, homeless shelters, service users, youth organisations, outreach workers, community associations and those within the drug and alcohol field, to name a few.
If you have a role in the community, are a volunteer or service user and can contribute to the overall picture of the impact of substances then we would be interested in having you attend our Forum’s. To register your interest please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org .