The South Tyneside Harm Reduction Team has recently undertaken engagement work with some of the people that use their needle exchange service. The team wanted to better understand how they felt about the service they have received during the COVID pandemic. Whilst the cohort was small, only 17 in total, their response about the services they have received was extremely positive.

Everyone that was asked rated the staff delivering the service as “Outstanding”. 15 of the 17 service users classed their experience of the needle exchange service as “Outstanding” whilst the other two people described it as “Very Good.”

Clare Lynn, Director of Services at South Tyneside said: “Ensuring our service users have continued to safely and easily access harm reduction support has been one of our big challenges during the COVID pandemic. We’ve needed to carefully balance the need to provide this essential service alongside the safety of both service users and our team members.

“As ever, our STARS team have gone above and beyond to deliver new ways of working and ensure they’ve been there when some of our service users have needed us most. We think they do a fantastic job and it’s brilliant to have confirmation that our service users think so too.”

Jennifer Morritt, HOPE Co-ordinator, said: “Working in the needle exchange is fulfilling and interesting work. Ensuring the service continued as normal during the pandemic for our service users was really important and I feel privileged being a part of this.”

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