What is Forward Leeds?
Forward Leeds is the integrated alcohol and drug service for the city, with a single point of
contact (tel: 0113 887 2477) and delivery hubs across Leeds. It is a consortium arrangement,
which means that a number of different service providers, some of whom have been working in
Leeds for a number of years, have come together to form an integrated service.
Current figures indicate that there are around 16,000 adults in Leeds who are experiencing
significant issues with substance misuse, and around 500 young people.
How the service works?
The consortium approach of Forward Leeds means that people who want to access help with
their substance misuse can do this easily. There is a single point of contact for all, which
means that service users who may misuse a number of different substances do not have to go
to different providers for help. This makes the service simple to understand and navigate.
The service has a presence across the whole of the city. There are three main hubs, one in
each wedge, which deliver the full service, as well as secondary, smaller hubs in each wedge.
Anybody who attends one of the hubs is offered an assessment of need, with the principle that
there is no ‘wrong door’ for people to access help. There are a range of services that are
replicated in every hub, but for more complex needs, e.g. a dual diagnosis of substance
misuse and mental health problems, service users may need to seen by a specialist team.
The service provides a holistic approach with services to support clients, through the housing
support team and support for families. The service has an outreach role, working with
communities who may be more difficult to engage, and has a presence at major festivals and
events in the city to offer advice, guidance and support about the misuse of substances.
How does the service support young people who misuse substances?
Each of the hubs across the city has practitioners who are skilled and experienced in working
with young people.
The area-based model of the new arrangements enables services to be delivered closer to
young people’s communities, rather than service users having to travel further.
With Forward Leeds offering adult and young person’s services, this allows for an easier
transition for young people once they turn eighteen. Young people’s substance misuse workers
are able to continue work with them up to the age of 25, rather than transferring them to adult
The broad age range also allows Forward Leeds to work with the large community of university
and college students in Leeds.
How the service supports parents who misuse substances?
Forward Leeds has a Think Family approach, which means that practitioners are aware of and
respect the fact that the substance use of their service users will have an impact on other
adults, children and young people in their families and their households.
Forward Leeds incorporates a specific Family Plus team who offer both support around
substance misuse and work on parenting skills. Whilst the primary focus of the service will
be on service users’ drug and alcohol use, there is an intensive parenting resource
available for families where there are serious concerns about parenting capacity, and a focus
on helping parents to understand the impact of their substance misuse on their children. The
Family Plus team work closely with existing children’s services in the city. The Family Plus
team prioritises parents with children living with them, parents under the age of 21 who are
not engaged with other services, families with children subject to a child protection, child in
need or early help plan, and service users whose children also need support from the young
people’s service. The integrated arrangements allow for a holistic approach to inter-generational substance misuse within families. The Families Plus service prioritises families
where children and young people are experiencing poor outcomes, for example poor
attendance and/ or attainment in education, or demonstrating challenging behaviour.
In addition, Forward Leeds also has a Drug and Alcohol Coordinator based in each of the
city’s three Early Help Hubs where there may be emerging or escalating difficulties around
substance misuse. These workers are able to undertake short term, direct interventions and
help in signposting families to the right service. They can also provide guidance and advice
regarding pathways / service provision and joint working / coaching and consultation with
practitioners to develop knowledge/ skills in working with specific areas of concern.
What should practitioners do if substance misuse is present or suspected?
If you have concerns about the potential substance misuse of a young person, parent or carer
you are working with, you should call the one-stop support line on tel: 0113 887 2477. Lines are
open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, and staffed by skilled, qualified workers. They
can offer information and advice on next steps to support the family, and can help you to make a
referral if appropriate. This would involve the knowledge and consent of the person needing
For face to face support, practitioners can accompany service users to one of the primary or
secondary recovery hubs across the city, where their needs will be assessed. These hubs
generally have the same opening hours as the telephone line, but appointments and services may
be available outside of these times; call the one-stop support line for further information.
For further information
The Forward Leeds website has further details of the support offered by the service, and details of
the three main recovery hubs, based in Seacroft (Irford House, Seacroft Crescent LS14 6PA),
Armley (Armley Park Court, 9 Stanningley Road LS12 2AE) and Leeds city centre (74 Kirkgate
If you would like to discuss accessing workforce development and training for your agency in
relation to working with adults or young people who misuse substances, please call the one-stop
support line on tel: 0113 887 2477.
You can follow Forward Leeds on Twitter @forwardleeds or Facebook /ForwardLeeds.