Latest News

SoberLink in Exeter change to Recoverylink imminent…

04 Dec
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments


SoberLink in Exeter will soon be changing to Recoverylink CIC

To reflect our new, broader remit piloting recovery peer-mentoring support for drug as well as alcohol dependents right across Devon, SoberLink in Exeter will soon be changing its name to Recoverylink CIC.

We’re just waiting for the last few details to fall into place, but within the next few weeks visitors to the website should instead go to our new website address, You won’t notice a great deal of difference other than some minor tweaks and improvements.

We are also in the process of agreeing a move to new, more practical (and warmer!) offices. Watch this space for further details…

Press release launches RecoveryLink project across Devon

23 Nov
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments


A pioneering Devon-wide service that supports drug and alcohol dependents to stay clean and sober and begin to build long-term recovery from addiction is due to begin work later this month.

Over the past eighteen months Exeter-based SoberLink Community Interest Company (CIC) has developed a successful recovery mentoring support programme for alcohol dependents that want to make a fresh start without alcohol and are committed to abstinence on leaving detoxification and treatment services.

The Recovery Peer-Mentoring pilot project, funded by Devon Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT), builds on the successful¹ work of SoberLink and sees the inclusion of an equivalent service for problematic drug users for the first time across Exeter, East, South, North and Mid Devon (not Torbay or Plymouth). The company is now being renamed RecoveryLink to reflect this broader remit.

Like the directors who formed the organisation and the project staff, RecoveryLink’s voluntary mentors are in long-term recovery from alcohol or drug addiction themselves.

On leaving treatment, clients are assigned a recovery mentor who shares their experience and explains what they did to stay clean or sober in the challenging early days of recovery. Support is provided through a mix of one-to-one meetings and telephone and electronic contact, and mentors also encourage clients to get know others in recovery by taking them to self-help and mutual-aid groups such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.

RecoveryLink is also due to run a series of Recovery Coaching courses designed to help people build on and maintain the gains made in early recovery.

One of the biggest challenges for many in early recovery from addiction is to fill the void left by drink or drugs and start rebuilding self-confidence and a sense of purpose in their lives.

RecoveryLink has teamed up with Exeter CVS to provide access to a wide range of opportunities for both its clients and volunteers across the county, including leisure activities, programmes aimed at improving mental and physical health and wellbeing, volunteering opportunities and access to training and courses for those looking to start or return to employment.

RecoveryLink is also extending its successful partnership with Shilhay Community, which run abstinence-based sheltered housing projects in Exeter. As well as continuing to provide mentoring to Shilhay residents, RecoveryLink will be able to call on the organisation’s resources and experience in housing and other practical forms of support that help clients get back on track.

Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for the NHS in Devon, said: “The Devon Drug and Alcohol Action Team partnership is delighted to be working with Recoverylink to develop this service that will help more people in Devon maintain their recovery from destructive, addictive behaviours.

“Developing positive relationships with people who have been through very similar experiences is well evidenced to support recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This service will help people coming out of treatment to maintain abstinence by developing social networks that help people to see that they are not losing something by giving up drink or drugs, but instead are gaining control over the rest of their lives.

“The service provides invaluable support for people as they leave treatment services and it is well recognised that helping other people, for example as a peer mentor, improves self-esteem and will strengthen their own recovery. This will have a cumulative effect and spread recovery from drug and alcohol addiction as more people graduate from using the service to becoming peer mentors themselves.”

RecoveryLink director Tom Gard added: “As SoberLink we have consistently campaigned for and promoted the benefits of recovery and abstinence, not just to the individual but to their families, the wider community, the NHS and the taxpayer.

“We are delighted to be given the opportunity to carry forward this pilot as RecoveryLink. As an organisation run by and made up of people in long-term recovery we believe we are well equipped to deliver it.

“The commitment and enthusiasm of our voluntary mentors never ceases to amaze us. Through them we tap into a common desire among those who have faced up to the challenges of addiction and come out the other side to help others at the beginning of their recovery journeys.

“Our mentors are living, breathing examples of the fact that recovery is not only entirely possible but also, with the support of others in recovery, that life without a drink or drug is anything but boring and gloomy, quite the opposite.”

RecoveryLink would like to hear from anyone in recovery with a minimum of one year’s continuous abstinence who might be interested in joining their highly motivated and friendly team of voluntary mentors.

Full training and mentor support is provided, and volunteers will also be offered access to a full range of leisure activities, other volunteering opportunities, training and vocational courses.

More information about volunteering with RecoveryLink is available from, e-mail or telephone 01392 256907.


***Notes to editors:

¹ An independent social and economic evaluation of SoberLink CIC’s Recovery Mentoring programme conducted by Bristol University concluded:

  • That for every £1 invested in SoberLink there was a return on investment of £4.03
  • Those who completed the Recovery Mentoring Programme reported 84% and 81% improvement in mental and physical health respectively, and a 88% improvement in family relationships
  • As well as the clients, other identified beneficiaries of the successful engagement with SoberLink were the volunteers, carers and family members, health professionals and Local Communities

For a press enquiries please contact Tom Gard on 01392 256907/07906 759881, e-mail or via Twitter @SoberLink11.

Join us in putting mentoring at the heart of recovery agenda

07 Nov
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

SoberLink (soon to be RecoveryLink) has recently been awarded a contract to pilot a substance misuse Recovery Peer Mentoring Programme across Devon.

The pilot project gives us an exciting opportunity to build on the success of SoberLink’s Recovery Mentoring Programme for alcohol dependents in Exeter, East and Mid Devon, now running for over a year, and to establish an equivalent service for people seeking abstinence and long-term recovery from drug addiction.

We are now seeking to recruit peer mentors from across Devon with at least one-year’s continuous abstinence from drink or drugs who can spare a few hours a week to help people build the foundations of early recovery during the crucial first few months after leaving treatment and/or detoxification.

Why volunteer with RecoveryLink?

SoberLink/RecoveryLink was set up by, and is run by, people in long-term recovery from addiction themselves. The Recovery Mentoring Programme was established to address the lack of intensive, recovery-orientated support just at the point where people needed it the most; when faced with leaving the treatment environment and rebuilding their lives without a drink or drug.

Being in recovery ourselves we understand that everyone’s personal recovery journey is different. SoberLink/RecoveryLink’s fantastic band of mentors come from all walks of life, and act as living, breathing examples of recovery in action, and we trust our mentors to tailor the support they offer to the individual needs of each client.

They support our clients by sharing their empathy and experience of what they did to stay clean or sober through a flexible mixture of one-to-one meetings, telephone and electronic contact. Many of our mentors are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other mutual aid groups, and we positively encourage them to introduce their mentees to these groups and take them to meetings in order to build networks of others in recovery.

As an organisation we provide access to a range of practical support for clients to help them address problems and difficulties in their everyday lives and to a wide range of volunteering, leisure activities and training opportunities through partnerships with other Community and Voluntary organisations.

What we offer our mentors

  • Full and comprehensive training
  • Support, advice and supervision from specified volunteer co-ordinators in recovery with experience of mentoring and addiction
  • Support in finding and accessing other volunteering opportunities, further training or vocational courses and organised leisure activities
  • Basic expenses
  • A chance to join a friendly and enthusiastic team dedicated helping ensure people in recovery are at the heart of shaping substance misuse services in the future!

If you or someone you know would be interested in finding out more about joining SoberLink/RecoveryLink as a voluntary recovery mentor, please call 01392 256907 or E-mail



SoberLink/RecoveryLink awarded contract to pilot Recovery Peer-support project in Devon

26 Oct
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

SoberLink CIC is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the contract to deliver a nine-month Recovery Peer Support pilot programme for alcohol dependents and problematic drug users across Devon.

It’s been an open secret in the alcohol and drug recovery and treatment communities for the past week or so, but we thought we’d better wait until the all the details were finally agreed with the commissioners at Devon Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT) and the ink dried before confirming the good news.

As a result, SoberLink will shortly be changing its name to RecoveryLink CIC to reflect this broader remit.

To date SoberLink has only offered its Recovery Mentoring Programme to alcohol dependents, for the simple reason we were set up and delivered by recovering alcoholics. We always said we would only work with what we knew and had personal experience of, and that remains the case.

We are therefore very grateful to partners Shilhay Community, who run abstinence sheltered housing projects in Exeter, for agreeing to the secondment of Community Support Worker Donald Church to RecoveryLink for the course of the pilot.

Donald, himself in long-term recovery from drug addiction, will use his expertise and contacts in the substance misuse treatment and recovery communities to establish and co-ordinate a Recovery Mentoring Programme for drug addiction that mirrors that already in place for alcohol dependency.

We are also pleased to report that we have teamed up with Exeter CVS in order to be able to offer both our clients and mentors access to a wide range of leisure activities, training and volunteering opportunities and projects designed to improve health and wellbeing.

While RecoveryLink will continue and build on its work in Exeter, East and Mid Devon, the project will also begin to roll out in South Devon and North Devon in the coming months.

This is a massive vote of confidence in the work we have done to date as SoberLink, and for that we have to thank all our wonderful voluntary mentors, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Watch this space over the coming weeks for further details….



Carers/Families of alcohol dependents event update

26 Sep
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

In conjunction with Devon Carers, SoberLink is holding a free, informal carers day event at Bicton Park Gardens on October 18th, 9am-1pm.

We believe that the families and carers of alcohol dependents are equally entitled to recovery from the impact of caring for someone with alcohol problems, and want to hear your views on what kind of support would make a meaningful difference to your lives.

There is no obligation for any further involvement after the event, no form filling or writing involved.

Transport from Exeter to and from Bicton, refreshments, a picnic lunch and access to play areas for those with children are all included.

For more information about the event call 01392 256907 or e-mail For more information about SoberLink CIC, call us or visit our website:

SoberLink News Bulletin – July 2012

30 Jul
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

It’s been a while since our last news bulletin, so we thought it was high time we brought you up to speed with all that has been happening at SoberLink Towers over the last few months. Click here to read on…

You’ll find the details of the highly encouraging Social Return on Investment evaluation of SoberLink conducted by Bristol University, some footage of our volunteers and clients speaking at a recent Recovery Event in Exeter and details of some new services we are rolling out in the next few months.

Please do pass on the link to anyone you know who might be interested in our work and happy reading!

Watch SoberLink at Exeter Recovery event

25 May
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

We were really pleased to be asked to deliver two workshops at Devon Drug and Alcohol Team’s recent Exploring Recovery event, held at Exeter City Football Club.

Having played a small part on the event’s organising committee it was very gratifying to see almost 200 people attend the event, representatives from the length and breadth of social and care professions talking and listening to those in the recovery explain how they got clean and sober, what helped them, and, mostly importantly, just how much better and rewarding life is in sobriety.

Our workshops gave our clients and volunteers the opportunity to give their personal accounts of recovery and what part SoberLink played in it. They gave their kind permission for us to video the sessions, and here are some examples of what they said:




Another piece of video from the event that caught the eye is this film, from Lifeline and FEAD (Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs), of Professor Keith Humphreys of Stanford University School of Medicine speaking about the value of self-help and mutual aid in sustaining recovery. Click here to view


SoberLink piece on SROI evaluation makes The Guardian!

08 May
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

Click on the link below to read piece by SoberLink directors on the benefits of our recent Social Return on Investment evaluation on the Guardian Professional Network.

Families and carers of alcoholics invited to talk about their support needs at upcoming SoberLink event

04 May
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

SoberLink CIC recently secured funding from Devon Virtual Carers Centre to organise an informal event for the carers and families members of alcoholics.

Although SoberLink’s Recovery Mentoring programme is aimed at alcohol dependent individuals in Exeter, East and Mid-Devon, as an organisation we also believe that those most impacted by an individual’s alcoholic drinking and behaviour are equally entitled to their own recovery and have volunteers with specific experience of caring for an alcoholic.

The purpose of the event is to get carers together, alongside SoberLink staff and volunteers, to help us gauge what type help they would like to see available that isn’t already there, as well as providing a chance to meet other people with similar experiences and share information, support and empathy.

At the time of going to press, the event is most likely to take the form of a trip to Bicton Park gardens on either a morning or afternoon in June. The event is free, including access to the gardens, transport to and from Exeter or East Devon (probably Honiton) and refreshments and the park has been provisionally chosen as it has good facilities for anyone who wants to bring young children.

Carers/families members may be dealing with a still active alcoholic or one who is themselves in recovery.

If you are interested in attending, or know of anyone who might be interested in attending, please call SoberLink on 01392 256907/07906 759881 or e-mail

You’ll find more information about what SoberLink does on our website:




Social return of £4.03 for every £1 invested in SoberLink – read key findings of Bristol University report

14 Mar
by soberlink, posted in Latest News   |  No Comments

SoberLink CIC is very pleased to be able to publish the results of the social and economic evaluation of its operation and core mentoring programme conducted by the Third Sector Capacity Building Cluster at Bristol University’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation.

Please click here to read the Executive Summary, while the full report, all 27 pages of it, is available to stakeholders and interested individuals and organisations on request.

It is one thing to be convinced in your own mind that providing intensive and flexible support to alcoholics in the early stages of recovery is ethically, socially and economically the right thing to do. It is another to have robust, independent and academically rigorous evidence to back that up.

The headline finding of the report is that for every £1 invested in SoberLink, a social return of £4.03 can be expected. The report also states that this return increases by £0.24 for every client who successfully completes the SoberLink programme, so even with fluctuations to current success rates of at and around a highly credible 80 per cent, there is plenty of potential for this figure to increase significantly.

We are indebted to our researcher, Stephen Halsey, who embraced and understood what we do at SoberLink so quickly, worked incredibly hard and conscientiously and came up with such an accomplished piece of work in a difficult field.

Stephen has been a pleasure to work with and we a delighted that he will be helping us carry this research forward and build on this initial piece of work by producing longer-term evaluations.

We’d also like to thank Professor Leroy White, who spotted the potential for a social and economic evaluation of a new Social Enterprise in the health and social care field and supervised the academic processes that went into Stephen’s work.

The report is doubly important for us at SoberLink as we urgently seek funding and investment to continue to take on more clients, grow our volunteer base and develop income streams that will eventually enable us to become self-sustaining.

With public health budgets in the new financial year being squeezed across the board and new alcohol service contracts not finalised until Spring 2013, we very much hope that the Bristol evaluation will persuade funders, donors and corporate sponsors that SoberLink is worth backing.

We are currently putting together a range of support and training services for companies and organisations wanting to know more about alcoholism and recovery or looking to offer support to employees and clients who may be experiencing alcohol problems. If this sounds of interest please contact us. E-mail or call 01392 256907.