Feature: Quarriers getting to grips with drugs and alcohol in Moray

FOR OUR FINAL look at the Moray charity groups who were recipients of a share of £10,000 raised at the Pitgaveny Farm open day in May, we talk to Emma Johnston, who is the north east project manager for Quarriers.

Emma returned to Pitgaveny earlier this week to receive the welcome boost to local funding – and spoke to insideMORAY about the history, present and future of Quarriers.

“I’m the north east regional manager for Quarriers, which is a large Scottish social care charity which has three projects in Moray,” Emma said, adding: “We have an epilepsy field work service, carer support service and a drug and alcohol service.

“The charity was set up around 150 years ago by William Quarrier – and our headquarters still remains in Quarriers Village near Bridge of Weir. So, we maintain a lot of the historical ‘good aspects’ of the charity but of course it has grown a lot, it has evolved a lot covering now a wide range of support through social care in Scotland. It is very much a family service in terms of holistic support around communities.”

While working on a contract basis for several organisations in Scotland, much of the work being undertaken by Quarriers is dependent on donations – and in particular their drug and alcohol support service here in Moray.

Emma said: “We rely very heavily on fundraising as with all third-sector organisations. But we also work with local authorities by taking contracts to deliver services in different areas, but fundraising and volunteer support are very important in helping us to support our services and being able to enhance their delivery on the ground.

“The projects that exist in Moray – our carer service and epilepsy service – have been in place for a number of years now. The Arrows drug and alcohol service is relatively new for Quarriers in Moray having been running for almost two years.

“Certainly, within these services it would be harder to fundraise and raise awareness within the community about some of the key issues and where support can go.

“That is why the money raised from the Pitgaveny Farm open day will be going towards the Arrow service, helping to promote recovery and helps the project we are running in the next year to raise awareness and celebrate recovery in Moray.”

Looking back on May’s open day, Emma said it provided the perfect platform to help make Quarriers work in our communities more transparent.

She said: “At the open day we held a stall where we were able to provide information about the charity and the Arrow service.

“We had individuals serve out our ‘mocktails’ – alcohol free cocktails that we have been developing within the service to show some of the easier options where people are able to opt for alcohol free drinks.

“This also allowed us to engage the community around that conversation, there is a lot of stigma associated with drug and alcohol use and we want to engage more people in those conversations – to make Moray more ‘recovery friendly’ for those affected.”

For more information on Quarriers visit them online.