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The power of SMART chat

I was visiting our satellite service in Ascot today, which is open once a week to support Service Users who find it difficult to access our locations in Windsor/Maidenhead and Bracknell. I spent time with Lee (Recovery Facilitator) and Alice (Health and Well-being Nurse), who were inspirational in the kindness and empathy they expressed when supporting the varied clients that they saw.

lee-and-alice-supporting-community-in-ascot-alcohol-support-service -SMART chat

What struck me the most about today was the relief I observed from those accessing the service when conversations were held around getting more support. Support in groups, in person, from peers, from partner agencies and via ‘SMART chat’, our online service offering free, confidential support and information on anything related to drugs and alcohol. This is available to anyone who has access to the internet; they can chat about themselves, a loved one or someone they know. It’s available every day between 6pm -11pm.

Having worked in this field for a while, I guess I’m used to discussions about support and signposting of additional services, and have become somewhat conditioned to the profound effect this conversation has on people when they are told that there’s help available, when perhaps just moments ago they felt totally on their own.

smart-chat-chat-now

I’m fortunate enough to be aware of the stats on SMART chat in terms its usefulness and effectiveness for those who need support, so I know it works. I carry a wedge of SMART chat promo cards in my bag, which I leave in the wake of my travels, but seeing people’s reactions to the online service today was a joy.

You can monitor, measure and report on all sorts of factors for a service like SMART chat, but what you can’t do is get a sense of the relief these tools provide when offered as a package of support – you have to be present for that, to see it, to feel it, you can’t measure that.

I’m very lucky; I get to travel around and see this stuff in action, meet with our dedicated workers and those who are struggling. I like to think that my contribution goes some way to help as well, that’s why I started this work in this field and why I remain. Maybe those who took SMART chat cards today will never ‘log on’, I very much hope they do, but just the fact that they knew that the service is available clearly made a difference.

Please do share SMART chat to anyone and everyone that you know. It’s available via our website, there is no criteria to meet, it doesn’t matter what borough that you happen to live in, there are no limitations … It might just make the difference.

James – SMART employee

access-support-for-alcohol-dependance-in-ascot-SMART chat

TRAX is open every Wednesday from 9am – 1pm. We are in TRAX Youth Centre, Millride, Off Fernbank Road, Ascot, SL5 8JW. One to one support and peer support groups available, spread the good word!

 

 


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