Action Zones 

Matthew Project plugs gap in family support 

TheMatthewProjectLogoOnly one in three parents/carers in Norfolk is aware that support is available to those affected by substance misuse within the family and now The Matthew Project is helping to address this gap by providing support workshops

During the first 3 months of 2014, the local Christian-based substance misuse agency,The Matthew Project, organised a survey amongst parents/carers in Norfolk, through schools and the local media to ascertain the level of knowledge of drugs and alcohol services in the local community
One of the key issues highlighted is that only 35% of respondents are aware that support is offered to family members affected by the substance misuse of others, be they parents/carers of young people who abuse substances, children of parents who misuse substances and/or siblings of those who misuse
To meet this need The Matthew Project has set up a number of programmes/workshops across the county to offer regular support to parent/carers who are struggling to manage their son or daughter’s substance misuse
A number of other needs highlighted in the survey include a 24 hour telephone advice line, and travelling to rural communities to offer face to face support.  Both are already in place and provided by The Matthew Project
The charity was encouraged by 73% of respondents stating that they had heard of The Matthew Project from a variety of different sources including schools, posters, professionals and the media.  Of that 73% only 16% had actually been involved with The Matthew Project. One respondent stated: “My experience of working with The Matthew Project has always been a positive one”
Heather Heslin, Team Manager of the Under18 Service said: “Although the survey did not expose any other gaps, it is clear that despite all the efforts to raise the awareness of the organisation in the local community, we are still not reaching enough young people, particularly those deemed to be in need of specialist support. We therefore must continue and increase the level of publicity and general awareness of the holistic service The Matthew Project can offer.” This should include an increase in the use of social network sites
Referrals to The Matthew Project are simple, with a short telephone call to the Under18 office number (01603) 216420 or via the 24 hour helpline on 0800 970 4866

published on Network Norwich and Norfolk