New manager for support scheme for women drinkers
Turning Lives Around’s unique service, which helps women drinkers in need to reduce their alcohol intake and get their lives back on track, has appointed a new manager as it marks its 25th anniversary.
Carr Beck was set up in 1996 to provide accommodation plus round-the-clock support for women with alcohol dependency and other complex needs.
The service, believed to be unique in the UK, has six self-contained flats in Leeds and takes a person-centred approach, encouraging their residents to draw up and follow personal alcohol management plans to enable them to reduce their alcohol dependency, regain their independence, refocus on a healthier lifestyle and engage with education, training or employment opportunities.
In the last 25 years, around 118 women have passed through Carr Beck’s doors and returned to their communities, friends and families to live more fulfilling, independent lives. Following the retirement of Kay Stewart, Caroline Sylvester has been appointed manager of the Carr Beck scheme and is looking forward to helping more women regain control of their lives.
Previously Senior Support Coordinator at TLA’s Wakefield service Sustain, Caroline has a wealth of experience managing services and working with partner organisations to deliver individual specialist support to those in need.
In her new role, she will also manage TLA’s two Housing First schemes, which provide long-term community-based tenancies for female sex workers and other homeless women with complex needs.
“Alcoholism amongst women was a growing concern when Carr Beck was set up 25 years ago and remains an issue today,” commented Caroline.
“The number of women dying in Leeds because of their alcohol misuse is still rising, and reports show increased high-risk drinking amongst both young and middle-aged women.”
A highly specialist service, Carr Beck residents can continue drinking to gradually reduce the amount of alcohol they consume daily, as they become accustomed to reducing their alcohol intake. Alongside this, the team at Carr Beck works with partner organisations such as healthcare providers and benefits agencies to resolve any health or medication needs or help with budgeting and money management, with an emphasis on prioritising rent and food over drinking. Support workers also help clients and their families re-establish relationships that have become estranged.
“This approach is proven to work, and we always have a long waiting list of women in need of that level of support. Our team builds strong supportive relationships with our clients, and this support often continues when they have moved on from Carr Beck. Knowing there is someone they can turn to if only for a listening ear is often key to breaking the cycle and preventing them from starting to drink alcohol again,” explained Caroline.
“Alcohol addiction does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone. Clients are referred to use due to risk of homelessness because of eviction, domestic abuse or poor health due to self-neglect. Many have previously owned their own homes, raised families, had professional careers and been a respected integral part of a community.
“At Carr Beck, we’re here to help them manage their addiction and move forward with their lives.”