A new local travel voucher scheme to assist individuals using recovery services is being piloted by the Outer Hebrides Alcohol & Drug Partnership (OHADP).
The concessionary scheme has been launched for individuals who live in the Western Isles.
Those eligible are individuals who are engaged in one or more recovery service which requires them to travel by bus to attend appointments or participate in activities (as part of regular and ongoing support, care, treatment and rehabilitation). This includes appointments/services provided by voluntary sector organisations.
Receiving practical support, treatment and access to alcohol and substance services is a fundamental part of the recovery journey. Enabling people to physically connect with others is a key component in recovery and being able to travel therefore allows the individual to meet new people, reduce stigma and social isolation, and make connections. It also helps to ensure that they are not marginalised.
The ‘Whole Person Recovery’ report found that ‘the ability to travel is a core component of ‘recovery capital’ necessary to support those in recovery from addictions (Royal Society of Arts, 2010). The ‘Quality Principles Recovery Philosophy’ states that everyone should be able to access and receive the same services as anyone else who accesses health and social care services (Scottish Government 2014).
The OHADP recognises the value of these interventions and will pilot the travel voucher scheme across the Outer Hebrides over a 12 month period. The services participating in the pilot will issue the voucher to the service user, which will enable individuals in recovery to engage with statutory and third sector addiction services and, more importantly, provide that physical connection with others in recovery. This will allow access to a range of practical support that is not always easily accessible to some.