An afternoon training with Addaction and YSmart

On the afternoon of Friday 21st June, I spent an informative and enjoyable at Exmouth Childrens Centre. I was attending a training session organised by Mid and East Devon Community Safety Partnership. The other attendees included fellow Solicitors, Social Workers, Family Support Workers, Police Officers and Healthcare Professionals. Basically professionals involved in assisting those escaping domestic abuse and professionals with an active professional interest in child protection. The training had been delivered in the morning to professionals from Mid-Devon, in Tiverton. We were from different parts of East Devon including Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth and Seaton.

The reason why we were all there was for a BITE-SIZE WORKSHOP with SUBSTANCE MISUSE SUPPORT SERVICES

These were YSmart , an organisation which provides drugs and alcohol support for under-18s, and Addaction who provide alcohol support services for adults and families across Devon.

The workshop included;

· Information about drugs and alcohol and the support services that Addaction and
YSmart provide to their clients and other agencies
· How we can make referrals
· Information on Breaking The Cycle and the Y-Project and how Addaction and
YSmart work together on these initiatives

Both speakers were excellent. I was already familiar with Addaction from when I used to practice in Exeter. Indeed, I can remember parents who I have acted for, who were able to engage with Addaction and to deal with their substance misuse problems successfully, so they were able either to prevent their children being taken into care by social services, or to secure their successful return home.  As a Children Panel Solicitor (Law Society Child Law Accreditation Scheme Member), it is truly satisfying when you see parents able to turn their lives around, not just for their own benefit, but more importantly for their children.

YSmart is a newer service which is for the under 18’s. They are also, quite clearly an excellent service and I am also happy to recommend them.

YSmart can be found at T: 01271 388162 | E:  and

Addaction/Devon Alcohol Service – Exeter, East & Mid Team and South & West Team; Tel: 08451 302605   Email:

What they did particularly well was their presentation of the cycle of change. What I left with was thoughts as to how I can better use this tool (and visuals) to assist my clients, both as a Solicitor and also as a mediator. That of course is the point of training. It is to challenge how you think about or do things, and to help you to do things better. If you look at the page on “Our Values” you will see that I believe that it is impossible to be perfect, and that it is always possible to do things better. And so, I finished the week with ideas about how better to help my clients better. Thank you  Mid and East Devon Community Safety Partnership. Thank you YSmart and Addaction. And what I didn’t say, was that the training was free!

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