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Addiction charity wins top award

Addiction NI team receiving NI Regional Social Work Awards 2012 prize for Overall Winner.

Addiction NI team receiving NI Regional Social Work Awards 2012 prize for Overall Winner. From left: Libby Weatherup, Edwin Poots MLA, Dr. Claire Armstrong, Alan Coleman, Janice Graham, Helen Kearley and Lynn Stewart

AN addiction charity working in Lisburn has won Northern Ireland's top award for Excellence in Social Work.

Addiction NI's Older Focus Team, which offers counselling and support across Lisburn Borough, was presented with the award by Minister for Health Edwin Poots MLA at a prestigious ceremony on June 8 in Belfast City Hall.

The award recognised the innovative nature of designing a substance misuse service specifically for older people, and the excellent outcomes it achieves. 74% of older clients had decreased their level of alcohol dependence and 77% had reduced their drinking after taking part in the Older Focus programme.

Older Focus is a unique project in Northern Ireland and one of only six projects in the UK which focus solely on older people with substance misuse problems. Older Focus offers specialist addiction counselling in the person's own home, if they wish, and support for family members affected by a loved one's alcohol or drug problem. Older Focus aims to support an older person to meet their needs in a range of ways including reducing isolation and increasing contact with family members.

Addiction NI Director Dr. Claire Armstrong said: "This award is tremendous recognition for the Addiction NI Older Focus team and the quality and innovation of this service over the 15 years it has been running. It's a hallmark that people are sure they are getting a top quality service from Addiction NI."

Older Focus Project Manager, Alan Coleman said: "We are very proud of our Older Focus service and the support it gives to a group of people who are often hidden and forgotten. Older Focus is free of charge and you don't have to go to your doctor first, just call Addiction NI direct for help and support. Addiction NI works with people with all levels of alcohol and drug problems, from people who have increased their drinking slightly and are worried, through to people drinking very hea ' y. It's never too early or too late to seek help."

For help and support with an alcohol or drug problem, contact Addiction NI on 90664434 or visit

Ulster Star