North East social enterprises join forces through a Peer Network

Addictions UK is a national organisation headquartered in the North East. It’s a social enterprise which was established in 2004 and helps people to recover from addictions including drug and alcohol dependence and behavioural addictions such as gambling.  The organisation grew out of a two-year pilot project which focused on using coaching to overcome addiction and it now offers a range of services including psychotherapy, / counselling and coaching, medical detox programmes, Integrated training and development including benefits advice.

Managing Director, James King explains what he’s gained from being part of a Peer Network for social enterprises in the North East.

What did you hope joining a Peer Network would bring to your organisation?

At Addictions UK we’re great believers in the value of listening to and working with others, and joining a Peer Network group meant that we could network with other social enterprises and see how they’ve been successful in what they do. We also wanted to be able to share our strengths, hopes and experience with others.

Did you have any reservations about the programme?

We’re extremely busy so of course I thought about whether I had time to attend the sessions. However I made it a priority and enjoyed it. It’s felt therapeutic, and the crème de la crème of the programme was the sessions with a personal coach which have been a revelation.

What have you gained from being part of a Peer Network?

The one-to-one coaching has been extremely valuable and has underlined how important it is for senior managers to receive this kind of support, as well as their staff. I got an enormous buzz out of it and it’s been a significant area of personal growth.

The peer sessions are open so that you can talk about whatever topics are important to your organisation. We’re about to launch a major integrated training portal and being able to talk it over and have people challenge and ask questions has been absolutely wonderful. Presenting a problem to a group means you can come up with solutions I probably wouldn’t have reached myself.

Would you recommend joining a Peer Network to others?

There’s no doubt I’d recommend it. My network has expanded and I’ve been able to identify new projects and partnerships with like-minded organisations. There’s a richness of experience and talent within our group and I’ve also been able to pass on knowledge and help others.

There are 34 Peer Networks in the North East LEP region, for businesses in a range of sectors from retail and hospitality through to offshore energy and advanced manufacturing. Part of the North East’s COVID-19 economic response, Peer Networks enable businesses to come together to address common issues and challenges, and support one another to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Find out more about joining a Peer Network, or email [email protected] for more details.