Story: Saleema Imam | Photo:Anwar Suliman
Local resident Rifhat Aziz has worked in a variety of posts in the community over the past 10 years is now working for the Arundel Street Project, which supports adults around drug issues.
Drug use can be a difficult issue to talk about, but Rifhat encourages residents to seek the help and support that is available.
The project’s outreach van will soon be coming to Ellesmere Green between 2pm and 4pm every Wednesday afternoon, where people can talk to Rifhat and other support workers.
“Drugs is a big taboo subject in many communities in Burngreave. I hope that when people see me working for the project they will know they can talk in confidence and that I will understand the issues.”
The Arundel Street Project, is part of CRI, a voluntary sector organisation, and is a citywide open access first contact drug service. They provide information about a whole range of drugs including khat, cannabis, alcohol, smoking, and steroids.
The Ellesmere Green visits, the latest in their citywide provision, will provide drop in advice, signposting to relevant services and information about changing areas of life such as housing for those who are new to treatment for drug use. They will also raise awareness about drug use amongst the general population.
Key workers can provide completely confidential information and support for drug users and their families and refer them on to other more intensive treatment services where necessary.
Urdu and Punjabi languages will be regularly available on the van, other language interpreters can be booked as needed.
Rifhat said, “All communities in Sheffield are affected by drug use, and we hope that meeting people in their local area will increase understanding and reduce stigma. I am really excited about doing this work in my own community, as I have seen how much it has helped residents in other parts of the city.”
A volunteer training programme is being developed alongside peer mentoring by ex-users. Volunteers and peer mentors will be trained to help in staffing the drop in sessions and gain valuable experience about drug services which could lead to paid work in future.
Drug aware boxes, condoms and needle exchange are also provided.
For more information contact Rifhat on 0114 2721481,call in at 92a Arundel Street, Sheffield S1 4RE. The van will be on Ellesmere Green from Wednesday 20th July.