DrugFAM’s team of dedicated volunteers are an essential part of the charity. They provide key support across all our activities including; working on the helpline, facilitating support groups, fundraising and office support.
I have been involved with fundraising for DrugFAM since 2008 and became Fundraising Trustee in 2012. I have a background in marketing and advertising, and have worked with a variety of UK multinationals, was Marketing Director for Avis, and ran my own strategic marketing consultancy. My objectives are to raise the profile of DrugFAM nationally and develop a comprehensive fundraising programme that enables DrugFAM to meet the needs of those families that need our help. I oversee the delivery of fundraising activities, from our Events Programme through to unique fundraising initiatives such as those in schools and prisons and I help drive our grant applications. Every fundraising activity, big or small, from a Summer Ball to a coffee morning helps us to help vulnerable families and no fundraising would be possible without all the volunteers and supporters who give their time to make our fundraising ideas a reality and to whom we are so grateful.
I live near Newbury with my husband. I am a Trustee of Mary Hare School for the Deaf in Newbury and also help them with their constant need for fundraising.
Our son was under the influence of drugs and alcohol for 16 years and has now been clean for 6 1/2 years and we couldn’t be more proud of his achievements. During this very difficult and traumatic time we knew of no help or support for our family members, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that my husband was introduced to Drugfam through The Berkshire Community Foundation, I wish it had been there to help us all those years ago.
I have gained much personal experience through my son’s addiction and know only too well the devastating effects that it can have on a normal family and I would like to use that knowledge to help others who are suffering the same way we did.
I currently offer DrugFAM clients telephone support from home.
My background has been in the nursing profession for over 25 years, which I enjoyed very much. I first became involved with DrugFAM nearly two years ago, when I called the office in a somewhat desperate state following the discovery of a family member’s serious drug use.
The kindness, empathy and understanding I received from DrugFAM at this time was invaluable. I started attending a support group and with a mixture of the group, telephone and one-to-one counselling I found myself getting stronger little by little. DrugFAM helped me cope with a heartbreaking situation.
Now through my experience I want to help other families and give them the strength they need to carry on with their own lives. I volunteer in the North of England in Prescot.
I came to DrugFAM as a family member who didn’t know where to turn and I felt completely overwhelmed by my loved ones’ alcohol addiction. Through using the helpline and attending a group I felt relief and acceptance. I was finally speaking to people who understood, who just listened, who didn’t judge, who offered comfort and who acknowledged that my feelings were valid and I was valued.
I love being able to volunteer which allows me to give back in some small way. DrugFAM is a lifeline to those struggling to cope with a loved ones’ addiction and without them I don’t think I would have gotten through one of the most challenging times in my life. DrugFAM understands and are here to listen.
I began working with DrugFAM in 2013 as a volunteer after attending a talk given by Elizabeth at the Chiltern branch of Samaritans where I have been a volunteer for 14 years, 3 of which I was privileged to be the Director. During this time I have concentrated on public speaking especially within schools and work closely with the Listening Scheme that Samaritans provide for the HMP Aylesbury Young Offenders.
On hearing about the work DrugFAM does I offered my services and now provide telephone and email support to those who contact us for information and help.
Gill is a facilitator at our High Wycombe Support Group
Sheila is retired from paid employment. Her personal circumstances include coping with members of her family with substance-misuse habits. She feels that her experience has become a gift – if she can come through, then she can help others to step out of the pit of despair too, through the support offered by DrugFAM.
Her experience includes instruction in counselling practices and theories, though she has never practised as a counsellor. She has worked since 2009 as a facilitator for DrugFAM support groups, having previously joined a predecessor support network as its client, where she first met Elizabeth, DrugFAM’s founder. She also took over the editorship of the DrugFAM newsletter, FAMfare, in 2013.
Sheila believes that adversity is the best tool for honing the senses of humour, fun and adventure.
Sheila is a facilitator at the Swallowfield Support Group.
Sophie is an accomplished North West based performer, facilitator, theatre maker, project manager and choreographer and works across the UK. In the last two years Sophie has; received G4A funding to create ‘Monday’ a pop up solo performance as part of Hope Street Ltd’s On The verge festival; and has managed and developed Orbit for inclusive dance company Dancesyndrome, which has also been supported by the Arts Council.
Sophie has worked for DrugFAM since 2012, performing in ‘Mum Can You Lend Me £20’ and delivering their young people’s bereavement project. She regularly delivers arts projects for companies who provide arts programs for those with disabilities; and manages a number of funded projects.
Kate graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Drama and completed a Masters in Performance Making at Goldsmiths College. After graduating from Goldsmiths, Kate formed a company with her classmates and had Residencies in both the Basement in Brighton and at BAC. They created Glasshouse, an interactive dinner party, which was performed at the Brighton Festival and at BAC in 2013.
After returning home to Liverpool Kate became a YEP Young Director at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse in 2014. Her Directing credits since include Blink (The Everyman Young Directors’ Festival) 2015 ; Face in a Jar (Ticket to Write Festival, Unity Theatre, Liverpool) 2015. Monday (On The Verge, Hope St, Liverpool) 2015 - which received funding from Arts Council England. Kate was also Assistant Director on Story Giant (The Everyman Theatre, Liverpool) 2017.
As a result of family trauma living with alcoholism and receiving specific family treatment, a startling experience in the night empowered me to create the Renewal Centre for this purpose – self-built and self-funded – in Swallowfield RG7 1TJ. Our family has been profoundly affected. I was fortunate to be directed to a self-help group by an enlightened addictions psychiatrist over 30 years ago, which I continue to attend regularly. I have experience of death and recovery as a result. It is my life’s purpose and pioneering vision.
I am a retired Office Manager and have been volunteering with DrugFAM since January 2016. My youngest son has had an issue with smoking cannabis for the past 10 years. I really understand the devastating effects that this can cause families. When I was asked to be a co-facilitator for a new DrugFAM group locally in Borehamwood, I jumped at the chance to help other families and give them strength to carry on with their own lives.
I first became aware of DrugFAM through a family member. I have volunteered with the charity since September 2015 as a support group facilitator in Peterborough. When someone receives help, this often has a knock-on effect for the rest of the family; this was certainly the case in my experience. I realised there is hope and that our situations can change with education and the support. I am motivated by the changes I observe in the Peterborough support group; the care and compassion offered to one another is courageous and inspiring. I have learned that there is no better gift than time, empathy and attention. Through the DrugFAM training I have gained the skills and knowledge to enable me to support others, whilst also looking after myself. I am proud to be part of a great team who make a difference.
Peter has worked with families affected by drug and alcohol use since 1999, mostly for the national charity Adfam. Peter also has a particular interest in bereavement through working as a specialist bereavement counsellor. Over the last six years these strands of his career have come together through his work on drug and alcohol related bereavements. This has entailed chairing a national working group that produced a set of good practice guidelines for any professional or worker who come into contact with a bereaved person through their work. He works with DrugFAM to train their staff and volunteers about supporting bereaved people, he contributed to the writing of their bereavement booklet, and facilitates the quarterly bereavement support group. He is currently writing a book on how to support people bereaved through a drug or alcohol related death, which is due for publication in 2018.
I am now retired after a career in supporting people with mental health issues. I have for the past 35 years been supporting families who have been affected by addictions.
I joined DrugFAM as a volunteer support group facilitator for Borehamwood. I am passionate about giving back to the community.