Oswestry Recovery Project (ORP)

Mutual Aid Engagement

In recent years Government policy on substance misuse in the UK has focused increasingly on recovery and has emphasised the need for service providers to ensure that they and their clients engage with mutual aid groups. Our experience is that some substance misuse professionals benefit from training sessions in which preconceived ideas and concerns about MA can be addressed. (See Training Section).

Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF) has been shown to impact positively on the probability of long-term recovery (Humphreys and Moos, 2001: Humphreys et al, 2004: Laudet, 2010: Kelly & White, 2012) and the intervention is used widely in the US in various forms.

CSARS Group is committed to applying its research findings and experience to assist in the delivery of mutual aid recovery projects for the benefit of individuals, families and communities in the UK and is currently involved with two projects.

Oswestry Recovery Project (ORP)

ORP is a partnership mutual aid facilitation project involving Shropshire Council’s Community Substance Misuse Team, NACRO and CSARS Group. The project team would like to thank AA, NA and SMART Recovery for their cooperation.

The 12-month project started in July 2014, it will incorporate the lessons learnt from the WRAP Project, and incorporate SMART Recovery, which is active in Shropshire.

Provisional Programme July 2014 – March 2015


Four half-day training events will be held for staff (July & September 2014, February & June 2015) involved in working with people with substance-misuse problems in the Oswestry area and these events will include sessions on:

  • Government policy, service user requirements and recovery resources available
  • Twelve-Step approaches to recovery and engagement with Mutual–Aid Groups
  • An introduction to SMART Recovery
  • Shares by AA/NA/SMART members on their experience, strength and hope in recovery
  • WRAPP/ORP preliminary outcomes and lessons learned
  • Delegates will also be offered the opportunity of accompanied attendance at local AA/NA/SMART meetings


Participants will be supported through a weekly programme of activities (October 2014- January 2015) comprising workshop-style training sessions, group sessions and facilitated attendance at local AA, NA and SMART meetings. They will also be supported through one-to-one sessions and encouraged to develop their own individual recoveries by trying to remain abstinent, undertaking homework, independently attending additional AA/NA/SMART meetings and getting involved with other local recovery activities, groups and communities. Where appropriate they will be referred to other local support agencies.

The programme will be delivered in  an interactive, informal workshop style, but detailed session hand-outs will be issued for them to study as part of their homework and for future reference as part of their ORP folder. Sessions will include:

  1. Registration, Welcome and Introduction to the WRAPP Programme
  2. Changing: Characteristics of Addiction and Recovery
  3. Accepting the Need for Help and Understanding Spirituality
  4. An introduction to mutual aid options and resources
  5. Understanding Twelve Step Programmes as a Recovery Process
  6. Recognising that Fellowships Offer Social Support
  7. Changing by “Living in the Day”
  8. Living Clean and Sober – Tips and Techniques
  9. The Relapse Process and Guidance on Prevention
  10. Managing Emotions and Living with Others
  11. Developing Individual Recovery Plans
  12. Review Session: Living Sober and Relapse Prevention

Participants will be assessed weekly and also prior to, during and after the course using the TOPPS questionnaire. Their Recovery Capital will be assessed using the ARC assessment scheme developed by David Best.


  1. Start-up July – September 2014:
  • Identify a local nominee to assist in project delivery and be trained as a future Recovery Champion in Oswestry
  • Establish networks; local organisations/services and mutual aid individuals/groups
  • Run two staff training events; Shropshire (25th June), Oswestry (September)
  • Agree referral arrangements with local partners eg CSMT, NACRO, Aquarius, SMAT, mutual aid groups
  • Raise awareness of ORP and recruit participants through liaison with local organisations and possibly a local recruitment event (s)
  • Assess and select participants by interview and standard techniques (eg TOPPS, ARC assessment tools).  Target group size is 15 participants with a short-list of reserves
  1. Inaugural Programme October 2014 – January 2015:
  • Run inaugural mutual-aid facilitation programme for first cohort of participants
  1. Consolidation Programme January 2015 – June 2015
  • Build on the inaugural programme and recruit new participants.
  • Establish a weekly “recovery day” in Oswestry involving individual and group sessions and a rolling programme of training sessions and activities.
  • Facilitate mutual aid meeting attendance for new recruits with participants from the inaugural programme who continue to attend meetings.
  • Train and support the local nominee to deliver group and individual sessions independently after the first year with the support of “graduates” from the Inaugural Programme who have established their own recoveries.
  • Establish arrangements for referral and support of the ORP beyond the end of the first year.
  1. Project Review June 2015
  • Review the outcomes and lessons learnt from ORP
  • Ensure that the resources and commitment are in place to allow the project to continue in a cost-effective and sustainable manner