Research

Jobs, Friends & Houses Follow Up: History, Rationale & Business Model

Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) is a business that is changing the landscape of addiction recovery programs in Blackpool, England. This program provides training and employment to people in recovery while producing community resources to support their journey in the form of attractive housing. Building housing represents a transformation of the ‘riskiness’ of the recovery landscape, reducing stigma to create an avenue for the wider community to believe in and support recovery.

This study by renowned researcher David Best, offers a more comprehensive overview of how Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) operates compared to an earlier publication, that detailed a case study of a particular incident in which a JFH worker intervened in a violent attack, & how that experience shaped and strengthened the participants of JFH.

 WHAT PROBLEM DOES THIS STUDY ADDRESS?

A fundamental obstacle to alcohol or drug addiction recovery is ‘negative recovery capital’. Negative recovery capital are barriers to achieving and sustaining recovery.  In the United Kingdom, stigma, and barriers to access housing and paid employment have made it difficult for recovering individuals to translate early recovery into stable recovery.

This study reviews a social enterprise business model designed, in part, to reduce negative recovery capital. Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) engages recovering individuals in a building program, linked to recovery housing, which also provides employment.

HOW WAS THIS STUDY CONDUCTED?

In order to describe the evolution of Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH), its impact on early participants, and the therapeutic landscape of recovery in Blackpool, England, the authors used a qualitative pilot study to explore and provide preliminary analysis of JFH. Structured interviews were conducted with 11 individuals with the program including 2 office staff.  Two key stakeholder interviews (founders of JFH) were semi-structured in-depth interviews which focused on the history, growth, and experiences of JFH. Interviews were conducted over a number of sessions. In addition, a community mapping of resources exercise was completed.

WHAT DID THIS STUDY FIND?

This study uncovered the history, rationale, and business model of Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH).  JFH is a social enterprise business. A social enterprise business uses commercial strategies to improve support for individuals and their environment alongside profits for external shareholders. JFH provides training and employment for people in addiction recovery.

The program aims to develop safe and attractive housing options for people in a town that is more renowned for cheap and poor quality private rentals. In doing so, JFH hopes to enhance the social contagion of recovery and foster productive members of the community.

JFH is engaging a workforce of trained professionals who are in recovery (e.g., joiners, plumber, electrician, plasterer, bricklayer, chef, and project manager) and are mentoring and training up program trainees.

 

The early success of JFH has been in part, due to a number of established local connections to formal treatment providers, organizations that provide recreation and leisure activities, and links to mutual aid communities.

 

Documenting local connections was the last phase of this project referred to as community asset mapping. In community asset mapping, JFH made an inventory of all their social connections to the wider recovery community who can lend support to JFH and its participants in the area of employment training, peer support, professional business, and wellbeing.

WHY IS THIS STUDY IMPORTANT

Stable recovery rests not only on overcoming acute dependence, but subsequently on developing supportive social networks, a safe place to live, meaningful activities and a sense of purpose and hope.

 

A social enterprise model may be able to meet many of the recovery needs that extend beyond mere abstinence. It is important to build recovery supportive resources beyond the therapy room to enable mind, lifestyle, and community transformations.

 

LIMITATIONS
  1. This is an exploratory qualitative study and it is too early to provide adequate evidence on the viability of the social enterprise or the long-term impact on the recovery trajectories of participants.

NEXT STEPS

Scientists are often trained to evaluate intervention effects on individuals, not communities. As a result, there is a lack of established models to measure the individual and environmental impact of social enterprise models. Future research should identify appropriate indicators of community impact that will test the community level effectiveness of social enterprise models.

BOTTOM LINE

  • For individuals & families seeking recovery: A social enterprise model targets people who seek to sustain their recovery, not necessarily initiate recovery. Its community visibility and positive perception may attract individuals toward the behavioral change needed for recovery. Its promising design encompasses comprehensive strategies to meet the ongoing needs and desires of people in recovery. A social enterprise model is new, and so its effectiveness has yet to be established.
  • For Scientists: This is a qualitative study and so the results are not designed to be generalizable.  Nonetheless, the participant’s description of Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) provides a reason to follow-up with effectiveness studies to determine the influence on long-term recovery and positive community contagion.
  • For Policy makers: Both participants and communities can benefit from a social enterprise business model. It is not a charity, and can produce a tangible product for the community (e.g., safe and attractive housing options). Therefore, consider funding studies to evaluate the effectiveness of a social enterprise model.  In addition, consider funding organizations like Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) which can help individuals while enhancing the community.
  • For Treatment professionals and treatment systems: A social enterprise model does not directly involve the provision of treatment services, but instead, means creating partnerships with treatment providers. Your role in a social enterprise model is considered to be a valued community asset. You may wish to learn about community organizations like Jobs, Friends & Houses (JFH) that can help your patients expand their recovery networks and enhance recovery capital.

CITATIONS

Best, D., Beswick, T., Hodgkins, S., & Idle, M. (2016). Recovery, ambitions and aspirations: An exploratory project to build a recovery community by generating a skilled recovery workforce. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 34(1), 3-14.

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