Sheryl, Service Manager Derby
If a young person comes in, even if they come in with their family, we make sure we speak to them on their own first. Then the family. We explain all the help they can get.
Typically, parents don't understand drugs, or that they cause the problems. There's a real lack of understanding. Sometimes parents fall into the trap of allowing their children to smoke weed or drink in the house, and even end up buying it – so they know where their kids are. It all shows you how little control they have, and how much help they need. They're pretty desperate, and they need our help. So we help.
We can help them with parenting, setting boundaries, helping them realise how important those boundaries are – and how important it is to spend time as a family, either at mealtimes or going out together. Things that don't cost loads, like going to the local park or a picnic or just free stuff like that.
Of course, change doesn't happen overnight. But by working with families like this, we can make a real difference. I worked with one girl who had real self-esteem issues, because of a lack of any real mother daughter relationship. She was taking e's, because they cheered her up and they helped her to feel good. Her and her mum came in together, and her mum would say 'don't be so daft' if this beautiful girl said she was ugly. She was really embarrassed about things. Her mum didn't realise how seriously she was thinking about all of this. By bringing them in together, we helped the mum to understand more.
I saw that girl on the bus the other day and she said hello. She told me how much better things were now, and how much we'd helped. She hasn't used ectasy for a couple of years now, and she marks the day she last took one.
It makes me feel great when I hear something like that. It's so, so fab to see that change. I didn't change them, they did, but I helped and it's really great to have been able to do that. I can take some credit, but they take the most of it.
My team are creative, always thinking of new ideas, always developing things if we're missing it, or we need it. Most of all, everybody's local, everyone cares about where they live and what's going on, and that commitment shines through at every opportunity. Without a doubt.
Young kids don't want to engage with a service that's full of adults saying 'don't do drugs'. They want to see people they can trust, and who will be honest and interested and all of those things. And that's why we're so effective.