Drugs and alcohol services and criminal justice agencies in Bolton were dealing with high numbers of a ‘hard to engage’ younger substance using cohort, in particular young males aged 20-24. Their alcohol use, especially in the evening and at weekends was contributing to criminal activity such as anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and assaults.
These individuals were considered likely to only attend (or attend for the first time) treatment and/or support services when attendance had been mandated by the courts. It was also felt that this cohort would likely reject messages of abstinence relating to substance use.
The aim therefore was to deliver a programme that focussed on the need to monitor and reduce alcohol intake. Crucially the programme was also required to ensure participants understand the impact alcohol consumption at the weekends was having on the likelihood of being arrested.
Working with the commissioners and criminal justice agencies in Bolton, Bluebird was created. Forming part of court sentence, it aims to educate the user about the impact their alcohol consumption is having on several areas of their lives - with a particular focus on why and how alcohol may be contributing to criminal behaviour.
Bluebird is an evidenced based intervention tool based on and extending the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance related to the Integrated Treatment Effectiveness Programme (ITEP) mapping.
The online programme has a dashboard that consists of 6 sessions and the innovative scenario setting tool is used to help with the story telling which allows for creative discussion. An accompanying certificate can be made available and is issued after completion of the program.
The approach Bluebird takes encourages remote working with a practitioner, focusing on goal setting and real life scenarios.
Bluebird supports services to deliver extended brief interventions over a number of sessions online. As well being able to be delivered remotely Bluebird can also be used in face to face meetings or with users in group sessions.
Created for use within alcohol and criminal justice agencies this evidence based wellness tool can be adapted to suit any area where lifestyle behaviour change is required. It can be used in group settings or with individuals, adapted to suit the needs of all age groups including children and cover any subject area.
As well as a successful trial in Greater Manchester, Bluebird is now also being used in the North East of England.