A support group helps hundreds of local people who are struggling with drug and alcohol misuse has been awarded the 2014 Queens Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).

The Service User Involvement Team (SUIT) helps people either receiving or requiring treatment for an addiction, offering advice and guidance about the recovery process as well as information about benefits and housing support.

Last year some 680 people received help and support from SUIT, a 19% increase on the previous year, and since 2011 has supported more than 100 people into full time, sustained employment, thanks in part to its structured volunteer programme.

SUIT also aims to build knowledge around substance misuse using the expertise that drug service users have, seeks to influence the decision making processes that affects drug and alcohol users and works to educate people and organisations about the dangers of substance misuse and the difficulties people face in overcoming them.

SUIT is staffed primarily by people who have suffered with an addiction and is run by the Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council with funding from Wolverhampton City Council's Public Health team. Its achievements were recognised when it was named one of the recipients of the 2014 QAVS earlier this month.

Sunny Dhadley, Service User Involvement Officer, said: "I'm delighted that we have been awarded the 2014 Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

"It is a testament to all those that have believed in us and supported us over the years, and I'd like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart."

"It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities and seen as the MBE for volunteer groups."

Ros Jervis, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "The Service User Involvement Team provides important help and support for people struggling with an addiction in Wolverhampton, empowering them to move forward with their lives and start contributing positively to society.

"It also plays an important role in influencing the way that drug and alcohol treatments services are delivered to people in Wolverhampton.

"This award is a great achievement and reflects well not only on the staff and volunteers but also the service users."

For more information about the Team, please visit Type=links;Linkid=3520;Title=Service User Involvement Team;Target=_blank;.

Two other local organisations were also given the 2014 Queens Award for Voluntary Service, Heath Town Senior Citizen's Welfare Project which offers day care services to older people who are feeling isolated, lonely and distressed, and the LGBT Network, which works to improve the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people in the city.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Award Committee Chair Martyn Lewis CBE added: "With more than 15 million Britons now volunteering at least once a month, this year's winners of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service have faced some tough competition.

"By being honoured in this way they have become the latest champions of a great movement whose members play a crucial role in identifying and tackling a whole range of grass roots problems in communities across our country. They represent the very best of democracy in action."

  • released: Monday 23 June, 2014