The CLERO Connectors Group needs fresh blood. Everyone seems to agree with that, as there are still important tasks for the organisation that need to be driven to completion and we need even greater representation for Lived Experience.
We have had three applications for membership of the Connectors Group, and we have been having some conversations about how we can ensure that the process is approved by the CLERO members and how they can participate in the approval process.
The Connectors Group does not govern CLERO; we are there to serve the members and facilitate the business and activity of the College. We are currently working hard on making work that goes on “behind the scenes” more transparent to the members in real time, so they can comment on and influence decisions and priorities.
As far as these new applicants are concerned, the Connectors are confident that they will bring energy and expertise in new areas, and we have agreed to progress the three of them joining. We asked them to provide brief statements about what they will bring to the work of the group.
Larry Eve said:
“With 25 years of hard earned experience of active addiction, I feel truly privileged and grateful to have made it out alive. I have managed to channel this deep sense of gratitude into my approach to working with people experiencing substance misuse issues themselves.
Having started in this field as a volunteer and progressing to senior management, I have a deep understanding of many of the challenges faced by people in recovery, wishing to work in this field, especially when working/volunteering for statutory services.
There's a prevalent sense of inequality present within our sector, that in my view is hampering coproduction between LEROs and statutory services. This is preventing participants of services (and people seeking recovery) the opportunity of exposure and connection to authentic recovery processes and more importantly, the people they are likely to meet there. This is an area I would be keen to prioritise.”
Tracey Ford said:
“As well as having personal past lived experience of addiction (including being an affected family member) I have worked in the addiction and recovery field for nearly 30 years and have chaired the Sheffield Recovery Forum for the past 10. For me this isn’t a job, it a vocation, I am absolutely passionate about recovery and motivated by wanting to make a difference whilst ensuring that people with lived experience are at the heart of all decision making. I promise to bring the same enthusiasm and passion to support the work of CLERO as best I can.”
Clare Kennedy said on behalf of Kennedy Street:
“I’d like to say our LERO charity are so so grateful to recovery for not only giving us our lives back but for giving us a passion and a purpose to live our best lives, we are passionate about LEROs, giving the people involved a voice that may not been heard before especially when it comes to big providers.
We are also willing to commit to the CLERO Connectors group and feel we will be able to help in whatever way we can to promote LEROs. Thanks for allowing us to be of service to the wider community.”
For the future we would like the LERO membership to approve a more consistent and transparent process for new applications to the Connectors. We want to eliminate favouritism or any other kind of bias, and we need the group to be representative and diverse. One possibility is for applicants to get two members (other than their own organisation) to back their application and vouch for them. We invite any CLERO member to tell us what is important to them in this process and to suggest ways of making it fair and transparent.