Boost for helping people recover from drink and drug problems as South Tyneside gets share of £6.1million funding

A pilot scheme aimed at helping people with drug and alcohol dependence into work is to be extended to include South Tyneside, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced.

An extra £6.1million funding from DWP will be invested in the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) programme, which has been trialled since 2018. It is delivered by Public Health England and will be expanded to up to 26 new sites across the UK.

More than 2,250 people have accessed the programme so far. Chiefs say trial data shows despite the challenges of covid, almost a third of people on the programme have begun permanent paid employment.

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IPS provides up to nine months intensive employment support including matching participants to jobs, improving employability skills and building CVs.

People with drink and drug problems are to get help from a new scheme.

This is in addition to four months in-work support focusing on working patterns, managing pay and help to overcome treatment issues. This support is included alongside clinical treatment.

Backed by government funding from DWP, Public Health England has been working with partners including Humankind in seven local authority areas across England to run the trial.

Officials say reports on how effectively IPS can be offered to people in treatment for alcohol and drug dependence have been “extremely promising”.

Heroin users who have not worked for several years, including some who have never held a job, are now finding jobs. Since completion of the trial, six of the original seven areas continue with the programme.

Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco for Public Health England said: “We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do.

“This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

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“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince said: “We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“But this scheme has clearly shown we can significantly improve peoples’ chances of finding employment and from this comes improved treatment outcomes and sustained recovery from drug use.”

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