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Plug In Devon: a new community resource

Mon 1 Mar 2021

Plug in Devon is a new online community connecting people in recovery (of any sort) with each other and with services, organisations, and grassroots groups in the region. It is especially focussed on the increased impact that living with the Covid-19 pandemic may have on individuals. The website https://www.plugindevon.org.uk/  includes online forums, news, personal stories, events, and a directory of services to help anyone in recovery from mental health needs, substance use, homelessness, or trauma.

The website is being developed by the Devon Together Alliance (DTA), a formal partnership of local organisations committed to system change and investment in Devon communities. Coordinated by EDP Drug and Alcohol Services, the DTA includes Devon Partnership Trust, Devon Communities Together, Exeter Community Initiatives (ECI), CoLab Exeter, BCHA, SAFE, Shekinah and Westbank Community Health.

When Covid-19 hit, DTA partners developed innovative strategies to continue providing vital support while ensuring the safety of staff and members of the community.

Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions meant that the peer-support networks, activities and events that had been a crucial component of people’s recovery were greatly impacted. To overcome the isolation, service users and volunteers expressed the need to have a digital platform, a space for peer dialogue and support more dynamic and casual than a videocall. The idea for Plug In Devon was born.

The Plug In Devon project is funded by the National Lottery has been developed by EDP Drug & Alcohol Services collaboration with DTA partners and with Cosmic, a Devon-based social enterprise which specialises in digital skills training, digital consultancy, IT technical support, and website development. Consultation with and feedback from community members in recovery informed every stage of the project development.

Now that the website is up and running, EDP has assembled a team of volunteer ‘Online Connectors’. The volunteers are all individuals with lived experience of recovery. They will be creating content, moderating the forums and, in the not too distant future, hosting live chat sessions.

The website will become an important point of reference to anyone who may need advice, peer support, or information about organisations operating in the region. If you are a group or organisation operating in Devon with information, ideas, news or resources to share with anyone in recovery, please get in touch with the Plug In Devon website hello@plugindevon.org.uk.

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