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Posted on: 28th November 2017

Open Road Newsletter - On the road - Issue 22

Welcome to our November newsletter.


Firstly, a very warm welcome to the new Open Road team at HMYOI Cookham Wood. Open Road in partnership with The Forward Trust were successful in being awarded the contract to deliver integrated clinical and psychosocial substance misuse services in six of the Kent prisons - HMP East Sutton Park; HMP Elmley; HMP Maidstone; HMP Standford Hill; HMP Swaleside and HMYOI Cookham Wood. The contract went live on 2nd October where we held an induction day for the Cookham Wood team, which was a very positive day. 

In the last three months we launched our latest annual review featuring faces of recovery and our latest theme “Everybody knows Somebody”. This was supported by a new and extremely powerful video featuring a number of successes - the real faces of recovery, telling their own story. 

Another resounding success was our annual Charity Ball on 7th October at Le Talbooth in Dedham, raising over £12,300. 140 guests supported the event with a lively auction conducted by Richard Kemsley, plus our Master of Ceremonies, Nigel Tweed - a very big thank you to Richard and Nigel. 

Our AGM was held on 17th October and we were delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, founder of DrugFAM and author of “Mum can you lend me Twenty Quid - What Drugs did to my family”. Elizabeth gave a very moving account of her story, how her family was affected by her twin sons’ drug use and the devastating impact it had on her life. However, out of all the sadness and grief, Elizabeth ended on a positive note about how her surviving twin son had turned his life around and the success of DrugFAM and the number of families it supports. 

At the end of the AGM, there was a surprise visitor from a very large rabbit! It turned out to be the new Open Road mascot and later in the day, the staff held a competition to name the rabbit. The winner was Tom Ricketts from Clacton and the name chosen was “Drugs Bunny” - a new take on Bugs Bunny. 

Our rewards and recognition event was held after the AGM - please see page 3 and 4 for the winners of the various categories. Well done to all the staff and volunteers who received awards. The Chief Executive’s award this year went to Leigh Wallis, Area Manager for North and Mid Essex. Well deserved, Leigh - keep up the good work. 

We were excited to be able to showcase our latest, new SOS bus for Chelmsford at the above event. It really does look amazing and will be out in the City Centre on 4th November for its maiden voyage. A very big thank you to all our funders and supporters of this project. So we now have a fleet - 2 large buses and a mini bus!! 

And last, but by no means least, we have a new patron. Will Quince, MP for Colchester visited our head office during October and I asked him if he would consider becoming a patron of our Charity, despite his extremely busy schedule. Will replied that he would be absolutely delighted. We have pleasure in welcoming Will as our newest patron. 

Our next newsletter will be published in February, 2018, so please do let me have any interesting articles you wish to have published. 

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Best wishes,

Sarah Wright, Chief Executive