At ESCAPE Family Support we recognise that substance misuse affects more than just the substance user and is why ‘family’ is in our name.  We have a great deal of experience in dealing with the wide range of negative impacts that substance abuse has upon carers and family members and the social isolation this can cause.  Our services are designed to provide you with access to personal support and a range of group activities as appropriate to your needs.

Helpline contact number: 07702 833944

If you live in Northumberland and you are a concerned family member or a close friend, you can call us for advice and support.

Our service is free and confidential

You can make a self referral directly by contacting our helpline on 07702 833944. Agencies including Social Services, GP’s plus ? can also make a referral for you. Following contact, our Service Manager will assess with you how best we might help you support yourself and your family.  You will then be allocated a named Family Support Worker to work directly with you.  In addition we have a team of befrienders, peer mentors and volunteers who can also provide support as needed.

If you would like further information about the support available head to our contact page or get in touch directly.

You will be allocated a key worker who will undertake a detailed assessment of your needs and a care plan will be drawn up.  Your key worker will co-ordinate the support that you receive from ESCAPE.

ESCAPE offers Person Centred Counselling, which aims to help you understand how your thoughts, feelings and actions are being negatively affected by your personal situation.

We have a team of friendly counsellors who are on hand to provide a confidential space and to listen to your difficulties and worries. They are qualified, or in the process of qualifying under supervision, and will seek to help you find the best way to approach any problems you are having.  The counsellors’ aim is to determine with you ways forward in a comfortable, confidential and non-judgmental manner.

At ESCAPE we promote a wide range of complementary therapies. They can be a great way to help you relax and promote a sense of wellbeing.

The therapies available vary, but are always delivered by suitably qualified practitioners. Currently we regularly offer acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine which started in China over 2000 years ago. It is a treatment that uses small needles to stimulate the outer ear to promote healing. Acupuncture can help conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the client.

At the start of the Acupuncture session a therapist gently inserts five small needles into the outer ear, you will then relax in a quiet room for forty minutes when the needles are safely removed. The sensation acupuncture needles produce on insertion is often described as a slight tingling or ache. Many people report that regular acupuncture leads to increased energy levels, improved appetite and sleep pattern, as well as an enhanced sense of general well-being.

Group-work provides an opportunity for people to come together to learn new skills and strategies and to provide mutual support.  Having the support of people who empathise with our personal situation can provide the safe space to share concerns we might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing.  Sharing experiences, concerns and feelings helps people feel less isolated and can help provide new perspectives and solutions to otherwise difficult and challenging situations.

We offer a range of personal development courses.  These provide people whose lives are affected by substance misuse with the knowledge, skills and understanding to help deal with the challenges of supporting someone living with or trying to overcome addiction.

Education & Training

  • CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training)
  • Strengthening Families
  • Teen Triple P

We have CRAFT groups in a number of locations across Northumberland. These are run and managed by trained CRAFT facilitators and provide an opportunity for group members to explore and learn new ways to bring about positive change in others.

CRAFT is a weekly support programme held over eight sequential weeks, each session lasting around 2 hours.  The sessions help you develop the skills you need to manage the impact of your loved one’s substance using behaviour in your life.

The three main goals of the CRAFT programme are:

  • To help participants develop the skills needed to bring about positive change
  • To help you reduce the substance user’s behaviours
  • To improve the quality of life for both carer and substance user

Carers are supported to try out new approaches to entrenched behaviours.  These new approaches can, in turn, lead to positive behaviours and to a reduction in substance misuse and a greater possibility of engagement with treatment services.

Strengthening Families is a nationally recognised, evidence based, parenting skills programme for families with children aged 10-14 years. The sessions are held weekly and take place over eight sequential sessions, each session is 2½ hours long.  It focusses on reducing family related risk factors for adolescent problem behaviours and building protective factors in young adolescent children and their parents/caregivers before problem behaviours have become established.  Group sizes can range from eight to thirteen families.

Teen Triple P is an internationally recognised programme designed to help parents meet the challenges of raising teenagers.  It features strategies designed to enhance parenting skills and offers practical solutions to everyday parenting concerns.  This programme is for parents of children aged 9 to 18 years and takes place over eight sequential sessions held weekly.  Each session is 2 hours long.

ESCAPE Family Support was founded on the basis of mutual support, recognising the real difference this can make for families affected by substance abuse.  We believe the opportunity to connect with others affected by similar challenges, to share experiences, support each other and learn together makes a vital difference.

We have a pool of volunteer befrienders and peer mentors who are trained to support individuals and work alongside our family support workers.

ESCAPE’s Befrienders

Our befrienders provide friendly social contact on a regular basis to individuals facing social isolation. This valuable support can be face to face or over the telephone. It could involve a cup of tea and a chat, accompanying people to appointments or activities or simply a regular check-in to see how things are progressing.  The nature of the befriending will depend on the individual situation.  Our support workers and volunteer co-ordinator will work closely with you to ensure that the befriending support offered continues to meet your needs.

ESCAPE’s Peer Mentors

Peer mentors build on and extend the support that is offered by our dedicated support workers. The purpose of the role is to help people make positive change in their lives and to build their confidence to access services, activities and social opportunities that they might otherwise struggle to benefit from.

Our peer mentors are people who have lived through similar challenges to those faced by our families and can use that experience to support others. They provide one to one support to clients and help facilitate some of our personal development groups.

Befriender and Peer Mentor Training

A number of people who initially seek support from ESCAPE go on to become volunteer befrienders and peer mentors themselves.  We provide free training which can lead onto  ONCN Level 2 accredited qualifications in either Peer Mentoring or Supporting Families Affected by Addiction.

We offer carers and families a wide range of opportunities to take part in social activities providing a safe space and time to connect with others.  These activities include:

  • Regular coffee mornings and drop-ins
  • Kinship carer support groups
  • Art group
  • Day trips
  • Subsidised respite breaks at our Caravan Park near Berwick

Please note group activities can vary depending on the interest of carers and demand.

The purpose of the group is to provide a focus for carers and others to come together and use creativity as a vehicle for mutual support and self-development.  The aim, as with all our activities, is to provide a safe space for “time out”, inspiration and connection.

The art group is an example of a group that has been regularly meeting for a number of years.

“After the most difficult week ever with my daughter I decided to call the 24 hour helpline. I was really nervous and worried they’d think I was an awful parent.  I was at the end of my tether.  But I was able to chat about everything that had happened over the last couple of years.  It felt so good to be able to get stuff off my chest, the worker listened patiently and after a long discussion I finally felt like somebody understood me and my family.”

I have called the helpline on a number of occasions.  Usually it is to let off steam in a confidential setting, but often I also seek advice.  I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing to support my husband and my family.  I always end the call feeling reassured and confident.


It has kept the family together, including the extended family.

I don’t feel on my own anymore.

The CRAFT course has been life changing for me.  It has helped me to understand how to deal with my loved ones without getting stressed out.

We are trying to make art part of everyday life and seek inspiration where we can find it.