Working with families and strengthing bonds between parents and children is becoming an increasing role for a support charity specialising in substance misuse issues.
The Leven-based Drug and Alcohol Project Ltd (DAPL) has staged a series of Easter workshops at venues around Fife, aimed at family members of various ages – and it hopes to roll them out again in the summer.
‘Families that play together stay together’ is one of the group’s key beliefs – while it also has a very well-known face as its patron, who came along to support a family session last week in Glenrothes.
Actor Clive Russell, from Leven, has racked up a hugely impressive list of stage, film and TV credits in his career, including most recently, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Outlander’ and ‘Ripper Street’, among others.
He was pleased to join DAPL in February, five months after he was invited along as a guest to a recovery open day and was highly impressed with the work he saw.
Founded in 1994, DAPL offers one-to-one counselling, support, information and advice to individuals and families in Fife who are affected by alcohol, drug and substance misuse. Its principal base is in the former Parkdale home in Leven and it originally served Levenmouth, but is now available throughout Fife.
The service is free and confidential, and offered by experienced and qualified workers. The workshops were open to anyone in the community to attend – as will be the ones succeeding them in summer – with a broad focus on the importance of good-quality family time.
Susan Innes, DAPL’s west Fife co-ordinator, said things could put a distance between families in the same household, such as youngsters sitting in bedrooms playing computer games.
“We wanted a pilot scheme, to show how bonding, sitting down and going back to basics could remove some barriers,” she said.
The theme of the event at St Columba’s Church, attended by ex-Parkhill Primary and Buckhaven High School pupil Clive Russell, was ‘no matter how bad things get, you can always rebuild’.
The day was devised by Kirsten Holland, a student from Glenrothes on a placement with DAPL, funded by the Drug and Alcohol Partnership.
The session featured nursery rhymes, stories and creative play – while Clive read the story of the Three Little Pigs, to illustrate the theme.
There were even materials set up to allow a little audience participation in ‘huffing, puffing, and blowing the house down’.
“There were about 15 kids there and the young people who were there all said they enjoyed it,” added Susan.
A similar event took place at the same time at DAPL’s Wemyssfield premises in Kirkcaldy, with ‘Bad Owl’ being the main story read.
Another programme in Glenrothes, for 13-16 year-olds, featured a music workshop, with DAPL counsellor Richard Miller, and worker/volunteer Jamie Steele, who also plays in a band.
They showed young people how to write songs, setting down lyrics and melodies. And they also looked at the benefits of music if you were feeling anxious or stressed.
In the summer, DAPL is holding painting sessions in Dunfermline to help single parents, young mums and youngsters aged 0-5 with bonding and forming attachments, while other group work is set to include Castaway, running in St Andrews and north east Fife for 13-16-year-olds and involving outward bound activities.