Booze councillors praised by inspectors

COUNSELLING chiefs who help alcoholic Buddies stay on the wagon have been praised by inspectors.

Renfrewshire Council for Alcohol Trust was given the thumbs-up for their highly praised accommodation services for people battling booze addiction.

Social Care and Social Work in Scotland – the independent regulator for social work services – graded the Paisley charity’s supported-housing programme as “very good”.

It picked out the quality of care and support to Buddies using the service for special mention and also hailed the quality of the scheme’s management.

The grades were based on an inspection of the RCA Trust and interviews with people using it in a bid to kick the drink.

Lesley Ann Kerins, accommodations manager, said: “All of my team work very hard to ensure we provide a high quality of service, so we are very pleased that SCSWIS recognises this in our grades.”

The RCA Trust’s accommodation service is funded by both Renfrewshire Council and East Renfrewshire Council and is designed to help alcoholics sober up, as well as cope with life’s demands.

The charity is highly regarded in the field of addiction counselling and also works with folk hooked on gambling.

The SCSWIS report noted that “the director, manager and staff all worked hard to create a happy atmosphere in the service and to ensure that individual’s needs were always met”. It also highlighted that people using the service “highly valued” the help they received.

Ms Kerins added: “We have two main approaches to help problem drinkers to live successfully in the community.

“Firstly, we provide accommodation to allow people who have become homeless as a result of their drinking to allow them to relearn or, in some instances, learn for the first time the basic skills necessary to live successfully in their own accommodation, while maintaining abstinence.

“We help build confidence in the skills necessary to maintain a home and also to be good neighbours, among other things.

“Our other service is intended to help prevent people becoming homeless as a result of drinking. For example, we make sure that they pay bills, budget their money, attend appointments and so on.

“We also promote safe drinking and healthy eating in both instances. Many service users have gone on to live successfully in their own homes. We are very proud of this.

“We do this while providing a cost-effective service. A recent review by the University of the West of Scotland found that for every pound spent on the service, there was an added value of at least £2.77.”