‘We have no budget for training.’ We heard this plenty of times at previous NNEF events – when budgets get tight, one of the first casualties is staff training. Yet training is essential for this sector. We often have relatively high staff turnover, and staff need to be empowered with the knowledge and confidence to provide the best advice to our clients.
The National Needle Exchange Forum (NNEF) is a voluntary network that promotes and supports the provision of high quality needle and syringe programmes. In June, we organised our first ever free training event for needle exchange workers, with parallel courses offered on safer injecting, overdose prevention, peer distribution, and bacterial infections. Trainers from across the country were brought to Liverpool to deliver to more than 80 participants – and the event was kept free of charge thanks to the generous support of Frontier Medical Group, Liverpool John Moores University, and a number of exhibitors.
The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive: all of those who left feedback said that they would recommend future NNEF events to their colleagues, and that they were able to access training that they would otherwise not have been able to. As a result, the we will look to provide more training events in the future – at locations across England – to support needle exchange staff as much as possible in their important, lifesaving work.