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Scottish Drugs Forum

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

About the organisation

The Scottish Drugs Forum is an independent centre of expertise on drug use and drug problems,   As a national non-governmental drugs policy and information agency, SDF works in partnership with others, supporting collaborative and evidence based responses for substance misuse. One of the key initiatives they have developed is the Addiction Worker Training Project (AWTP) - a unique initiative which supports, trains, and prepares individuals with a history of problematic drug and alcohol use to work in Social Care.

Trainees have usually experienced homelessness and many have never worked due to the nature of their addiction issues. In addition to the direct benefits gained by the Trainees, the individual works with around 35-40 people affected by substance misuse in organisations working in the field of recovery from addictions.

In October 2016, hot off the heels of  being awarded a Clydesdale Bank Spirit of the Community Award in June, the AWTP won the Diversity Star Performer Award at the inaugural Herald and GenAnalytics Diversity Awards.


About the award

Towards the costs of the Addiction Workers Training Project (Edinburgh & the East). The Trust supported the initial development of this project in Glasgow where it is now fully funded by Glasgow City Council’s Integrated Grants Fund and Big Lottery. 

The Trust also provided three year funding towards the Addiction Workers Training Project (Edinburgh & East) from 2013-16. During the period of funding the project has expanded, with 52 trainees recruited from across a number of local authority areas, including Fife and the Scottish Borders, 43 of whom secured further employment within three months of completing the project and went on to sustain employment beyond this period. Following evaluation and trainee feedback, the programme now incorporates literacy tuition delivered by the Workers Education Association in addition to budgeting and improved IT support. 

The 2016 award from The Robertson Trust was for 4-5 year continuation. For more information on applying for this type of funding, please view our recent blog post.


Q&A: Chris Messenger, Senior Development Officer of the Addiction Worker Training Project.

What's happened so far with your project?


Since initial investment in to AWTP by The Robertson Trust, the scheme has expanded to the east of Scotland and in to other parts of the west of the country.  This year, we have 27 trainees recruited across Glasgow, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Fife, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders.  The Robertson Trust funding has enhanced the opportunities we have been able to provide for people in recovery who face multiple employment barriers. 

What's still to come?

We were successful in securing a four-year award from Big Lottery Fund Scotland this year - should we be able to secure further investment to AWTP from new funders, it is a key organisational goal for us to further expand the geographical reach of the scheme, so that as many people as possible around the country have access to this life-changing opportunity. 

What tips would you give to other organisations looking to do this kind of work?

Recognise the value of people who have experience of the service or initiative you are delivering. Our partners often describe trainees as role models, and beacons of recovery for people currently accessing services. In turn, our trainees receive an amazing opportunity to learn their trade, and develop their confidence and self esteem.  Recognising the importance of partnership is essential in what you deliver.


How this would fit with our Giving Strategy 2016-19

In order to successfully apply for funding under our Giving Strategy 2016-19 (launched August 2016), applicants must demonstrate how their work will contribute to one or more of the themes within the Trust's three new funding strands.

Although granted prior to the strategy launch, this application would have been eligible under our new approach as a result of its fit with the following themes:

  • Funding Strand: Strengthening Communities
    Theme 1: Reducing health and social inequalities in Scotland's communities

To find out more details about all of our funding strands and themes, please download our Giving Strategy 2016-19.