Marsh Recovery Awards with Addaction

These Awards recognise the hard work, dedication and outstanding contributions that people in recovery have made to raising awareness, supporting others in recovery and combatting the stigma associated with substance use. People who inspire others in recovery are integral to Addaction’s work and they help to show that a life free from the problems addiction brings is possible.

The four award categories for 2018 are:

  • Individual Achievement Award
  • Recovery Group Award
  • Recovery Collaboration Award
  • Recovery in the Media Award


For more information on how to apply, visit Addaction’s website.

Pictured: 2015 Winners Club Soda delivering Co-Design workshop: “How to go to the pub”

Dave Taylor, Nick Ellis, Creative Start and 'Drink Wise, Age Well' volunteers 2018

Individual Award – Dave Taylor

Dave has been a volunteer with Addaction in Grimsby for over 2 years, initially starting as a peer mentor before progressing to a volunteer. Historically, he had issues with alcohol which subsequently resulted in him being hospitalised and losing everything before slowly building himself up and becoming a peer mentor so that he could give something back to society. Dave is keen to learn as much as possible through training and is heavily involved in the groups, sharing his experiences of them playing a big part in his own recovery. Once a week he visits Grimsby hospital to see patients who have been admitted and have underlying addictions, lending a professional listening ear which also has a personal touch as he can empathise with what they are going through. Dave is happy to share his story and has given presentations, which would have once caused him to drink, and been interviewed on local radio and television. He takes it all in his stride and nothing fazes him.

Collaboration Award – Nick Ellis

Nick has been working closely with the Alcohol Liaison Team at UHNS Hospital doing regular visits to people admitted into hospital with substance misuse issues or health conditions due to substance misuse. The Team will identify patients who might benefit from a visit from Nick and he will talk to them about his own experiences of addiction, how he got support and how it has had a positive impact on his life. Nick connects really well with people in hospital and many clients have engaged in support when they are discharged as a result of his visit. Nick is reactive and supportive and is really making a difference to the lives of people he visits. He has built a great professional partnership with the hospital which has increased the number of referrals received by the recovery service.

Group Award – Creative Start

Creative Start delivers an abstinence-based recovery art programme at various community locations including Addaction Grimsby. They promote recovery and help all members create works of art that can be exhibited locally to help improve their confidence and self-esteem. Sam Delaney, the driving force behind this enterprise, is 13 years in recovery from alcohol and developed the group to strengthen his own and others’ recovery. The group design merchandise designed by members to sustain themselves and members are encouraged to become involved in community projects such as murals and local events. Creative Start has provided support and aftercare for people in recovery since 2005. Sam has fantastic ideas of how to use art as a tool in a person’s recovery and is an extremely supportive presence to all his members.

Recovery in the Media Award – ‘Drink Wise, Age Well’ volunteers

Willie McGarill, Pauline McCarron, Jim McCormack and Willie McCarthy are exemplary of the value that volunteers bring to the ‘Drink Wise, Age Well’ programme. This is a National Lottery funded programme led by Addaction to help people aged 50 and over make healthier choices about alcohol. The programme is steadily building awareness of higher risk drinking and this is largely thanks to volunteers who are prepared to speak about their experiences of problems with alcohol to the media. Willie, Pauline, Jim and Willie have all been extremely open about their struggles with alcohol and the causes of these struggles. Putting their stories out in the media has allowed other people to recognise similar patterns in their own lives and is helping to reduce higher risk drinking among the over 50s.

Previous Winners

Lynsey McKenzie, Leanne Gillon, Harry Shapiro and the Right Turn Veterans Group

Exceptional Individual: Lynsey McKenzie

Lynsey is a volunteer with the North-West Recovery Communities in Glasgow and takes a lead role in three of their recovery cafés. This responsibility has seen Lynsey blossom from an isolated individual in recovery to someone who is well respected in the community and a person people can turn to for help with their recovery. Lynsey has shared her story with people at the Recovery Communities 5th Birthday Party and now delivers a group session in the Addaction Hub every Tuesday as a Recovery Champion.

Exceptional Activity: Leanne Gillon

Leanne has been a key part in the improvement of Recovery services in South Lanarkshire. She established an MAP group in her local area and now co-facilitates the group, encouraging members to work together to achieve their recovery goals. Leanne has helped the group to integrate into the community and forge important links with other organisations. As a result, the group has grown significantly, and Leanne has been a constant presence in the group and a great support to the members of the group.

Exceptional Media: Harry Shapiro

Harry is the Director of DrugWise and has worked in the drugs field for over 35 years. He was the main media spokesperson for DrugScope, Managing Director of Druglink and has written and lectured extensively on all aspects of drugs and drug-related issues. Harry regularly appears in the media, including the Today programme, the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent, representing the views of alcohol and drug users and challenging stigma. He is hugely knowledgeable and presents his information and evidence in a skilled and non-judgemental way, acting as an advocate for service users and their family and friends.

Exceptional Group: Right Turn Veterans Group

The Right Turn Group is a peer-led group of veterans who provide support to veterans with issues relating to substance misuse in Wigan. They have advertised in their local area to attract new members and have completed a number of fundraising activities including a walk up Ben Nevis. The group have built a great support network for one another, both within the group and in their local area, from finding training courses to helping those who presented to the group as homeless find accommodation.

Anna Elston, Swanswell Peer Support Group, Foundations Drug and Alcohol Service and Amy Liptrot

Exceptional Individual in the Field of Recovery – Anna Elston

Anna Elston has used her own personal experiences to help other parents who are battling with addiction. She has spoken publicly about her experiences, through radio and press interviews, in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. Anna is also involved with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, where she helps to deliver training to prevent and educate others about addiction.

Exceptional Group in the Field of Recovery – Swanswell Peer Support Group

The Swanswell Peer Support Group offers a range of volunteering opportunities for people in recovery. The group is run by people with lived experience of addiction and provides members with the opportunity to develop their confidence and engage with their local community and environment, including adopting a tree in the local park which they use as a meeting space.

Exceptional Activity in the Field of Recovery – Foundations Drug and Alcohol Service

The Foundations Drug and Alcohol Service in Grimsby has developed an allotment which is looked after 7 days a week by people in recovery. The activities on the allotment help to give participants a sense of purpose and responsibility, whilst at the same time improving their physical and mental wellbeing.

Exceptional Media in Challenging the Stigma of Recovery – The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

The Outrun tells the story of Amy’s return to her hometown in Orkney, Scotland, to aid her recovery from addiction, understanding her descent into addiction through its connection to wildness of her homeland. Amy’s book was published in January 2016, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Wainwright Book Prize and is a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

Kerrie Hudson, Peer Supporters at RISE, Laura Willoughby at Club Soda, Sarah Hepola and Max Daly

Exceptional Individual in the Field of Recovery

Kerrie Hudson has been instrumental in setting up The Well, a not-for-profit organisation based in Lancashire, which provides housing and recovery programmes for service-users. Kerrie has used her own personal experiences as someone in recovery to identify gaps in local services and has worked with other agencies to ensure that the needs of people in recovery are met. Just one example of this was the establishment of a local women’s group in Morecambe.

Exceptional Group in the Field of Recovery

The peer supporters at RISE in Devon, made up of a group of service users in recovery, have been driving the recovery agenda in Devon and challenging the stigma around recovery. The group has worked tirelessly to raise funds to set up 11 Recovery Cafés which offer a supportive environment for people on their journey in recovery.

Exceptional Activity in the Field of Recovery  

Laura Willoughby was awarded for setting up ‘Club Soda’, an online platform supporting individuals who want to change their drinking habits. Club Soda allows people to set goals, track their progress and get together to share their experiences. It has over 3,000 members and 15 volunteers who organise local social events.

Exceptional Media in Challenging the Stigma of Recovery (Joint Winners)

Journalist Sarah Hepola was awarded for her memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, which tells the story of alcohol misuse, and the journey to sobriety, in an engaging and enlightening way.

Max Daly was awarded for his ongoing column in Vice UK called Narcomania, where he uncovers the truth about drug issues in the UK. Through his column, Max tells the stories of real people implicated in drug misuse, calls for stronger policies in this area and helps reduce the stigma associated with talking about drugs.