What is Outreach?
Outreach work involves going out into the community to offer support and advice to drug and alcohol users. Outreach practitioners get in touch with clients in various ways including on the street, at satellite clinics, in local community organisations and by being visited in their homes. Outreach teams help to raise awareness of substance use, provide harm reduction information, engage clients into services and refer them into appropriate treatment. They also offer advice on housing, benefits, employment, healthcare and childcare.
Providing outreach services enables practitioners to engage with particularly ‘hard to reach’ groups and to target the most vulnerable and chaotic individuals. By taking services out to clients, we can increase the number of people who receive the support they need, we raise awareness of what is on offer and we can improve client retention.
Where WDP provides outreach services:
- Croydon (see below)
The Croydon outreach service focuses on various substance misusing street populations including: street based sex workers, chaotic drug users, poly drug users, dual diagnosis clients, service users from black, minority and other ethnic groups, homeless people, and street drinkers. As well as engaging with substance users, the team makes contact with local businesses and members of the public to ensure that they are aware of the services that are available. This also provides further insight into the local community, helps to identify any problem hotspots and new clients in need of substance misuse support.