1995

Summary of Activities

First women-specific, feminist, drug rehabilitation project in Ireland.

We became actively involved in the establishment of the     Inter-Agency Drug Project – the forerunner to the North Inner City Local Drugs Task Force.

Outcomes

First intake Oct 1995 – 16 women; over 20 years more than 350 women have taken part in our long term women-specific programmes.

20 years later still the only women-specific project with in-house childcare facilities in Ireland.  Inter-agency work and policy influencing became stated objectives within the programme.

1996

Summary of Activities

Set up Basic Education Group and Cardboard Box Writing group.

Official opening International Women’s Day 8th March.

Crèche established in June.

First residential with women & children, Seville Lodge, Kilkenny.

Outcomes

Produced first publication -  Resolute Women Recite – which generated even more interest in the programme.

An established on-going pattern of residential programmes as part of a rehabilitation programme.

SAOL takes part in Muralista documentary (see Vimeo for more)

1997

Summary of Activities

 

Successful in obtaining New Opportunities for Women (NOW) EU funding.

Outcomes

Transnational partnerships.

Exchange of training/rehabilitation tools and techniques.

Staff exchanges; participant exchanges.

Stats: 90% of participants who completed the first SAOL programme increased their literacy levels – 49% up one level, 31% up two levels and 10% up three levels

1998

Summary of Activities

 

The programme continues with participants venturing out on to  TV and Radio – Live at 3 and Pat Kenny.

NOW Project sees SAOL linking with Bologna and Amsterdam.

Outcomes

Participant voices were heard on the national media.

Assisted development of casework and inter-agency approaches.

1999

Summary of Activities

Original NOW Project is mainstreamed by HSE.

The first meeting of Progression Routes Network with 45 agencies represented.

Outcomes

Progression routes resulted in employment opportunities for 2 participants (employed as peer workers).

First public discussion by SAOL on the issue of poly-drug use.

79% of SAOL participants experiencing problematic poly-drug use.

2000

Summary of Activities

 

The emergence of cocaine use in the north inner-city community.

Established Women’s Studies Programme in conjunction with UCD.

Produced ‘Women in Action’ book.

Outcomes

Although going unreported in official statistics, poly-drug use with cocaine is already commonplace. 

 

Associated mental health issues emerging.

SAOL participants attending mainstream university course.

2001

Summary of Activities

 

Accessed Daphne EU funding to explore addiction as a means of surviving domestic violence.

Produced a report on the ‘Processes and Practices of the SAOL Project’ in an attempt to build up the body of literature in the Irish context.

Outcomes

Improved access to women’s refuges for women with drug problems. Previously they had traditionally been reluctant to house women with addiction problems.  Nonetheless, even with improvements, women with addiction issues do not get access to beds easily.

2002

Summary of Activities

 

Opened first SAOL Summer School for children.

Successfully applied for project funding from the Probation Service.

Outcomes

Summer school for children continues to this day.

Probation service continues to support our work with women and we are a welcome service in the Dochas women’s prison.

2003

Summary of Activities

 

Production of “Journeying Back – Voices of Women on Methadone” by Patricia Kelleher, et al.

Held Gala Concert for fundraising in Liberty Hall – starring   Damien Dempsey and others.

Outcomes

SAOL recorded a CD which included the famous ‘Stronger woman Now’.

The gala concert was a one-off fundraiser; private fundraising for drugs projects remains very difficult, even for the only women’s project.

2004

Summary of Activities

 

Contributed to Citywide report on the emergence of Cocaine use as a problem in the community.

Outcomes

This started the work that was to lead to the publication of Reduce the Use.

2005

Summary of Activities

 

Piloted the care plan system.

Outcomes

Care Planning is now a by-word for the usual structure for key-working intervention.  However, it partly began in SAOL.

2006

Summary of Activities

 

Brought ASSIST Suicide Prevention Training to Ireland.

Outcomes

 Another by-word for ‘everyday’ training for which SAOL can claim a major role.

2007

Summary of Activities

 

Cocaine Conference in Croke Park resulting in the publication of Reduce the Use, Cocaine Worksheets and the Cocaine CD (see website for more details).

Outcomes

The conference, attended by more than 180 people, provided practical advice and support for those working with cocaine issues for the first time.  The conference launched Reduce the Use and associated resources which have since been downloaded more than 16,000 times from our website.

2008

Summary of Activities

 

Introduction of cocaine worker allowing for the development of cocaine specific interventions.

Aftercare groups begin tentatively; fully established in 2010.

Outcomes

This led to SAOL offering training in Reduce the Use, a manual now used in all corners of Ireland with more than 1000 people having attended SAOL training.

2009

Summary of Activities

SAOL secures funding for the renovation of our back garden allowing for more outdoor play for the Children’s Project.

SAOL joins protest marches against the cuts.

Outcomes

The simple change in environment with all-weather grass has allowed the children to have access to outdoor play all year round; a developmentally stimulating change.

SAOL is part of her community and will always march with them.

2010

Summary of Activities

SAOL presents at the Council of Europe a conference on stimulants.

Aontas Award for education delivery.

Outcomes

We were proud to represent Ireland at the conference and speak about how SAOL was approaching our work with women in recovery from stimulants.

The award from Aontas encouraged us to continue working towards creative excellence as educators.

2011

Summary of Activities

Joan Byrne leaves as Director to go to CityWide.

Gary Broderick appointed Director.

Launched Reduce the Use 2.

Prequel to 'It's Talk Time' as RDRD women come to visit.

Outcomes

Gary Broderick appointed Director.

Launched Reduce the Use 2.

Prequel to 'It's Talk Time' as RDRD women come to visit.

A huge change for SAOL as its first director moves on. 

As cocaine was sharing the field with lots of other drugs, poly-drug use was the norm, so Reduce the Use 2 was published.  The second publication turned out to be an enormous success with more than 1000 copies downloaded each year since publication.

2012

Summary of Activities

 

Relationship with Abbey begins. 

Outcomes

Art, music and drama have been important to SAOL, and our great working relationship with the Abbey has resulted in many women attending theatre who would never have risked it before.

2013

Summary of Activities

 

Peer-related activities: launches of Talk Time, ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ and Poetry book.  Significant launch of Solas sa SAOL, the first manual on the issue of Domestic Violence with women in addiction.

Outcomes

Peer-led research, poetry and discussion made our 18th year one firmly cementing peer to peer work in SAOL. See the website for more of their work.

'Solas sa SAOL' used throughout Ireland as a key resource for impacting Domestic Violence of all kinds.

2014

Summary of Activities

 

RecoverMe is launched from Dublin Castle.

Training with social work students in UCD. Launch of ‘Tus maith, leath na hoibre’

Outcomes

RecoverMe is launched as a follow-up to Reduce the Use, with a focus on emotions.  Has already matched it in the downloads. Childcare and addiction recognised with a massive download of reports since publication.

Innovation in training social workers sees SAOL women get involved.

2015

Summary of Activities

 

Publication of IC2; Reduce the Use individual worksheets; Conference on Relationality; poetry book launched; new research by participants and letter to Minister.

Outcomes

 Impact to be seen...