Hebrides Alpha taking referrals

Hebrides Alpha are taking referrals in relation to
therapeutic employment.

Hebrides Alpha is aimed at individuals (male and female) in Lewis and Harris who struggle with an addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs, who are serious about addressing it, are aged 18 – 65 years and are able bodied, due to the nature of the work which we carry out.

The service provide 2 days therapeutic employment each week where they assist in delivering a range of services in the local community including window cleaning, power washing, gutter cleaning, cardboard recycling for local
businesses, clothes recycling around the island, kerbside recycling and the hiring out of bouncy castles.

As well as having 2 days each week where they have a structure to their day, Hebrides Alpha also put them through a variety of employment related training courses
including Manual Handling, Health & Safety Awareness, Basic First Aid, Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS card for working on building sites), Fork Lift and cherry picker training. Work experience with employment related training significantly enhances their CV, their
employment prospects and their self confidence and self esteem.

Service users don’t get paid for attending the programme, but after their first 8 days on the project (the service does not want money to be the number one incentive) but  do pay them a £10 daily allowance, up to a maximum of £20 per week, which does not affect their social security benefits.

Hebrides Alpha does not give them cash, but at the end of each month the amount they are due is paid towards court fines, rent arrears, electricity metre, mobile phone vouchers etc. If it is food they want to spend it on, they will go to the local supermarket and text us when they’re at the checkout and we will go over and pay for it. We don’t pay for alcohol or cigarettes!

Recently, two of Hebrides Alpha service users have just started full-time employment (one with a local building firm and one with a local fish farm company), with others attending interviews shortly. There is no fixed cut-off date for Hebrides Alpha intervention with service users and another 6 service users are currently on their books.
As service users move on, Hebrides Alpha always need new ones to take their place, and with the social enterprise growing, they are hopeful that within the next 18 months they will be self sufficient and not need to rely on grant aid to continue.

Hebrides Alpha currently meets over 75% of their running costs through the services which are deliver in the local community. 

Referrals can be taken from any route including GP, NHS staff, Social Work, Job Centre, Homeless Service, alcohol/drug counsellor, family and self.

Once referred, they have an informal chat with the Robert Sinclair, Hebrides Alpha Manager, and if they are keen to get involved they will be given a date for starting.  The service user’s GP will be written to to inform them that they are interested in participating and ask the GP
to let us know that they are in agreement with this – we don’t ask the GP for any medical information.

Once they start with us they are supplied with their own Personal Protective Equipment (including boiler suit, steel toe cap boots, hi-viz waist coat etc) and when they do a particular job for the first time they are made
aware of the Risk Assessments and Method Statements for each task. We provide tea, coffee, water, biscuits, lunch and bus fares. The service also invites them along to the sports centre for 5-a-side football and badminton and we arrange the odd fishing trip.

Service users provide feedback on their involvement and the service is happy to share some of that with anyone who requests it, obviously on an anonymous basis.

If you are supporting anyone who you think would benefit from getting involved with the therapeutic employment, please contact Hebrides Alpha or if you would like some flyers sent to you for passing on to colleagues or clients, please let the service know.

Hebrides Alpha are also more than happy to sign post their service users to other services

For further information please contact Robert Sinclair,
Project Manager, Hebrides Alpha Trading CIC, The Old Casting Shed, Rigs Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2RF.  Tel: 01851 705054, Mobile: 0777 071 4987 or visit:

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