A new enterprise has launched in Blackpool which aims to offer training nationwide on drug, alcohol awareness, sexual health and gender awareness issues.
The Renaissance Training School has been set up by the charity Drugline after funding for its training arm came to an end this year.
Instead of losing the skills of valuable members of staff, the group decided to run the service as a business.
The Dickson Road team of six are up and running and Aldo Errico, Renaissance Training School’s co-ordinator said they are already looking to expand the range of courses.
Aldo said: “Drugline has been offering support to the community for 30 years. It has grown and changed over the years.
“Training has been offered over the past ten years to healthcare professionals funded by a variety of sources, predominantly Public Health Blackpool.
“But that funding ended at the end of March. We had the choice to simply bow out gracefully or to continue the training but as a business to make use of the huge experience of our fully trained and qualified staff.
“So we have launched our own self sustainable training school.
“Our rates have been developed to include all businesses and organisations, and with local services like us with tight training budgets and cuts to services in mind. Now we are no longer restricted to offering the service to the FY1 to 4 areas, we can take the training anywhere in the country and for any age group.”
He said Renaissance will continue to offer training to healthcare professionals but identified a need for training in these subject areas for any organisation or group. Absenteeism, for example, in any field has a negative impact upon the local economy.
“Therefore Renaissance will be expanding to offer specific training to private businesses, schools, colleges and universities who may have particular concerns around drugs and alcohol.”
Another field they can offer advice and training in is in dealing with sexual orientation, gender and LGBT issues.
He said they also offer training sessions about HIV, sexual health and Hepatitis as well as sexual violence and domestic abuse. He said: “Because of the acute nature of the issues we have here in Blackpool, our staff are highly experienced and well qualified to help in other parts of the country.
“Blackpool has traditionally taken a lead on these things.
“They are front line workers who understand the science and the impact these issue scan have.
“We’d like organisations to approach our training courses as an important element in being even more socially responsible and another positive step to enhance everybody’s knowledge and improve health and wellbeing.”