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  1. Via – New Beginnings – Brent achieves micro-elimination of Hepatitis C 

    04 April 2024 by Erin Lee
    A group of people smiling and standing around a banner at one of our Brent services.

    Some of our Brent colleagues and partners.


    We’re thrilled to announce that our New Beginnings service in Brent has successfully reached the impressive milestone of Hepatitis C micro-elimination! 

    NHS England has a target to eliminate the virus by 2025 and Via services are aiming to do this in their local areas as well. 

    Hep C is a blood borne virus which, left untreated, can cause liver cancer and liver failure. It usually displays no symptoms until the virus damages the liver enough to cause liver disease. People who inject drugs are at the highest risk of becoming infected. 

    As of February 2024, our team in Brent has reached the following targets with the people who use their service: 

    • 100% of those in treatment have been offered a Hep C test
    • 100% of people who currently inject or have previously injected have been tested for Hep C
    • 90% of individuals who currently inject or have previously injected have been tested in the last 12 months
    • 90% of people who were diagnosed with Hep C at the service have started treatment

    By meeting these targets, we’re proud to report that Via – New Beginnings – Brent has formally achieved Hep C micro-elimination! 

    In partnership with Gilead Sciences, staff and volunteers at all our Via services have been working tirelessly to promote testing and treatment with the people they work with, on their journey to micro-eliminate Hep C, and we hope to be able to announce more micro-elimination wins soon! 

    Marlon Freeman, National Hepatitis C Coordinator at Via said: “Hepatitis C micro-elimination at our service in Brent will be another next great accomplishment toward NHS England’s goal of eliminating viral Hepatitis C by 2025. Our partnership in the London Borough of Brent with Central Northwest London NHS Trust is a strong example of great third sector charity and NHS collaboration. I have worked closely with the service and seen our Via/CNWL staff work tirelessly to BBV screen and sometimes rescreen service users to ensure no one is left undiagnosed with Hep C, Hep B or HIV. We would like to also send appreciation to the West London Operational Delivery Network who have closely supported the service to aid in reaching this milestone. The work in our Brent service will continue to ensure the best quality of life for residents of the borough.” 

    Faye Martin, Hep C Trust Peer Lead, said:Via Brent have been amazing to work with they have included the Hep C Trust in many testing/education events. Our partnership allows us to make sure service users get the best support through their Hep C treatment journey”. 

    Louise Hansford, South Coordinator Hep C U Later said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to support CNWL to achieve hepatitis C micro elimination in Brent. This service exemplifies the excellent partnership working between Hep C U Later, CNWL and Via and has drawn on the excellent work in Hounslow and Hillingdon. The Brent team made great use of the Hep C U Later Cepheid machines and training which I turn enables them to offer quick and easy diagnostic testing and support their patients into hep C treatment.”  

    Abby Campbell, CNWL Sector Manager & NMP said: “Congratulations to the New Beginnings team on reaching Hepatitis C micro-elimination! This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the hard work, dedication, and expertise of everyone involved. Your tireless efforts have made a significant impact on improving the health and well-being of our clients who are affected by this disease. Thank you to all for your unwavering commitment to this important cause.” 

    Councillor Neil Nerva, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care said: “It is amazing news that Brent has become the next borough to successfully achieve micro-elimination of Hepatitis C in our substance misuse services. This is a significant achievement in tackling this potentially life-threatening virus. Partnership working between the Council, VIA New Beginnings, the NHS and, critically, service users has been central to this milestone. This goes to show what more we can achieve together”. 

    Max Griffiths, Service Manager at Via said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have reached this momentous milestone in achieving micro-elimination at New Beginnings. There has been so much hard work and dedication put into supporting our service users to get tested and treated for Hepatitis C. This achievement is a result of the amazing partnership work taking place at the service.” 

  2. Celebrating Via Redbridge’s Women’s Safe Space

    22 March 2024 by Erin Lee

    At the end of 2023, the team at Via Redbridge invited valued local partners, service users, and colleagues to the launch celebration for their Women’s Safe Space. Attendees were able to learn about and recognise the significance of the women-only space.

    A roundtable discussion took place which was incredibly impactful and led by women sharing inspiring stories about their experiences with the space. Everyone also had the opportunity to give important feedback about the space, such as how it can be improved, and how more can be provided within the community.

    The conversation was chaired by Service Manager Helen O’Connor, who’s a White Ribbon Champion and part of the organisational steering group. Our organisational White Ribbon Ambassador Tom Sackville was also delighted to listen and take part.

    Many women spoke about how the space is somewhere they can relax, and speak openly with other women in the group.


    Here are what some of the women said about the safe space:

    “I like coming to the safe space because I enjoy the company, joining a craft, encouraging one another and hearing everybody’s progress.”

    “This is what I look forward to throughout my week. Coming here on a Wednesday, sharing experiences, love, and stories with one another.”

    “I come to the women’s safe space because it’s somewhere that I feel comfortable, it’s good to keep busy and socialise with others. It’s just a good space to come if you feel down. Everyone’s really supportive and the staff are amazing as well.”


    Helen O’Connor, Service Manager at Via R3 said:

    “In Redbridge, our local authority has unequivocally committed to take measures to end violence against women and girls. As well as conventional crime prevention methods, they have also conducted safety walks, bystander training, and conducted a survey to understand the experiences of women and girls in the borough.

    Via, as a White Ribbon accredited organisation delivering several services for the communities of Redbridge, stand with others to be part of the solution to ending violence against women and girls whilst also making sure our services are accessible and safe for women and girls who are currently experiencing or have survived it. But whilst our Safe Space – and others like it – can provide a crucial haven where women can access essential advice and support that is related to their experiences of violence and abuse, these spaces have so much more to offer than protection.

    As our launch has shown, and as our service users tell us, these spaces can be the catalyst for women to find their voice and confidence, express themselves creatively, develop their employment skills, where they can be seen by a wide range of services ‘where they are’, learn and practice self-care, and pursue a wide range of goals with the support of peers and professionals.”


    Tom Sackville, Executive Director of Services at Via said: “It is brilliant to hear how what the women in the service said they needed has become the fantastic space that we saw. We heard from the women how important it was that they had somewhere they felt safe and able to be themselves, and it was incredible to see how they support each other in that space. We know how important it is that women have these spaces, and the difference it can make to their lives. It was really exciting to see a number of our partners in the community in attendance and I am really looking forward to seeing how, by working together and really listening to those who need the service, the space continues to develop.”


    Charlene Samuda, Recovery Practitioner who runs the space said: “I couldn’t have hoped for anything better really. When we started this safe space it began with one of our ladies saying that they didn’t actually feel comfortable in some of the mixed groups that we were doing, and it would be really good to have a space for women who just wanted to have groups with women only – so I decided to start that as a group. It went from a group, to a ninety minute safe space, and from that it’s now grown into four hours an afternoon – so it’s really good! I think the women kind of speak for themselves about what they have achieved here, what they want here, and I’m just glad to be here to be able to support them!”


    Nakisha, Volunteer/Peer Mentor and Art Project lead said: “The Women’s Safe Space is very important for me as it provides a confidential, welcoming environment for women with shared lived experience with supportive female staff. The safe space is a creative, therapeutic time for women to participate in activities such as art, acupuncture, meditation, and complete accredited self-development courses such as Next Steps and Nova. There’s also a chance for women to pamper themselves once a month with a nail technician. Many of the women have expressed that they look forward to coming to the safe space and socialising with other women, and are grateful for the service as it’s aided their recovery journey and abstinence. I’m thankful to contribute to such an amazing service supporting vulnerable women.”

  3. Via celebrates gold with Investors in People

    31 January 2024 by Kate Bonner

    We are delighted to announce that we’ve been awarded the We invest in people ‘Gold’ accreditation from Investors in People.

    This prestigious global benchmark helps organisations to review their workplace culture specifically around employee engagement, communication, organisational culture, and work practices.

    At our last accreditation, we achieved a ‘Silver’ award, so gaining a ‘Gold’ standard this time is not only a significant milestone but also a real testament to the important work we’ve started and that we continue to build on.

    Hearing from our people is invaluable and 70% of our colleagues took the time to share what they think about Via and how we’re doing as an organisation.

    Some of the comments from our people included:

    My manager always recognises our work, and we get praise for what we’ve done.”

    “I feel appreciated because I’ve got that sense of autonomy, and I can make the decisions I need to make.”

    “I feel appreciated because if I come up with an idea my manager will support it happening.”

    After receiving all the feedback (through a survey, focus groups and attending meetings), Investors in People reported that Via was “a great place to work” and that our people are “amazing”.

    We were also told that there were lots of things that we should be proud of, such as:

    • Our rebranding exercise has instilled a renewed sense of pride and energy in the organisation.
    • The creation and early implementation of our new values which are clear and concise.
    • The approachable, transparent and non-hierarchical culture that we’re shaping.
    • Our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.
    • Our highly consultative approach to decision making, especially through the use of Connection Champions from teams across Via.
    • The trust and credibility that our leaders have based on their follow through on commitments.
    • The improvements to communication through conference events, newsfeed bulletins, team meetings and more.

    Anna Whitton, CEO said: “Our teams have worked really hard to make changes that genuinely make a difference to their colleagues. It’s really good to see their hard work recognised through the outcome of this review and to know, through a thorough external process, that what we’re doing is achieving what we intended.”

    Marina Deeny, Director of People said: “It’s great to hear that our people feel valued and appreciated and to have our efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion recognised by Investors in People.”

    Visit our Work at Via area!
  4. Via signs up to Age-Friendly Employer Pledge

    17 January 2024 by Erin Lee

    We’re delighted and proud to announce that Via has signed the Age-Friendly Employer Pledge, a nationwide programme run by the Centre for Ageing Better.

    By signing the pledge, we’re showing our commitment to older workers and making our workplace age-friendly. This means we’re taking action to improve our recruitment, retention and development of workers aged 50 and over.

    Being a part of the pledge means we draw on a wider pool of applicants for each job. It means older workers can continue to thrive and contribute in our organisation. And it means we can benefit from the innovation and productivity boost that multigenerational workforces bring.

  5. Via to provide new drug and alcohol recovery service in Gloucestershire

    16 January 2024 by Erin Lee

    Gloucestershire County Council will fund leading charity Via with £5.8 million per year to provide drug and alcohol treatment services for the county.

    The new service will start on 1 April 2024 and run for an initial 5 years, with the option to extend the contract up to a further 4 years, which would bring the total amount of funding to £52.2 million.

    Via will provide free, confidential treatment and support to adults who live in Gloucestershire who need help with alcohol and drug issues. The service will be delivered from hubs in Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Stroud, as well as across an extensive network of community partnerships throughout the county.

    Research shows for every £1 spent on drug treatment, there is a social and economic benefit of £4. This includes reductions in health, social care, and offending costs.

    Mark Hawthorne, leader of the county council and cabinet member for public health and communities, said: “I’m really pleased to welcome Via as Gloucestershire’s new community drug and alcohol treatment provider. As well as helping some of our most vulnerable residents to turn their lives around, these services help to improve our communities. Housing, health, and social care services all benefit when drug and alcohol treatments are working effectively.”

    Yasmin Batliwala, Chair of Via said: “We are looking forward to working in close collaboration with our partners and serving the needs of our clients and their families within the local communities across Gloucestershire to deliver high quality services from April 2024.”

    As a leading health and wellbeing charity, we have experience of working with partners in Gloucestershire and are already working in collaboration with The Nelson Trust on the UK’s first women’s only detox which will also be based in Gloucestershire.

  6. Via backs introduction of UK’s first safe drug consumption room

    02 October 2023 by Erin Lee

    Via is delighted by the enlightened approach of the authorities in Glasgow in giving the official go-ahead for the UK’s first safe drug consumption room.

    There’s a misconception that a harm minimisation policy leads to condoning the use of illicit drugs – but the evidence from across Europe and Canada is to the contrary.

    Such services reduce accidental overdose deaths and help by linking individuals to structured treatment with all the associated benefits.

    Their introduction is a measured and incremental response to the present drug death crisis and will facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of other interventions. Consumption rooms are one component of a multifaceted toolkit, which could save many lives.

    Chair of Via, Yasmin Batliwala MBE, states that “This is an important step in the right direction and Via supports it and its adoption across the UK”.

    Additionally, Executive Medical Director at Via, Dr Yasir Abbasi, states that “Safe consumption rooms are tried and tested in many other countries and has evidence to support that they minimise harm and reduce morbidity and mortality. Well done, Glasgow!”

  7. Drugs contaminated with synthetic opioids: an updated collective message

    31 August 2023 by Erin Lee

    To anyone that uses drugs or cares for someone who does:

    The drugs available in the UK seem to be changing lately. As services that provide support to people who use drugs and their loved ones, we have come together to issue a shared statement about some of the new drugs being used by the people we support and the risks they present. 

    Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, and in honour of all those who have been affected by overdose and in light of new information about synthetic opioids, we have updated our joint statement.

    In the last two years, new opioids called “nitazenes” have arrived in the UK. They have recently been found mixed with heroin, with some being sold as illicit oxycodone pills and illicit ‘Xanax® powders.

    Nitazenes can be at least as strong as fentanyl and can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin. They are known to have led to accidental overdoses and the deaths of people across the UK in recent weeks.

    If you use drugs, this information could help you and your friends to stay safer. If you know people who use drugs but do not use drugs yourself, the following information could help you to keep people alive. 

    Because of how dangerous these contaminated drugs are, the way you use drugs may need to change to avoid overdose. We have updated the following information, in line with harm reduction guidance issued by EuroNPUD, with additional information provided to aid those living in the UK: 


    1. Carry naloxone

    • Always carry naloxone. It’s available from all drug services. 
    • If you live in Scotland: Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs offers a ‘click & deliver’ service
    • If you live in Wales: Barod offers a ‘click & deliver’ service
    • Nitazenes have been found in non-opioid drugs (like illicit Xanax®), so even if you or your friends don’t normally use opioids,  it is still worth carrying naloxone. 
    • Carry extra naloxone – in some cases, it has taken multiple doses of naloxone to reverse  overdoses involving heroin contaminated with synthetic opioids. Carry two yellow cases of intramuscular naloxone or two double packs of nasal naloxone. More advice is provided in point six (overdose response). 


    2. Don’t use alone

    • Try not to use drugs alone, and don’t let your friends use them alone either. Watch out for signs of overdose in others. The signs include difficulty breathing, blue or grey colouring to the lips or fingertips (the former in lighter skinned people, and the latter in darker skinned people), unresponsiveness, and limp limbs.
    • If you are going to use drugs, reach out to someone to let them know your plans and ask them to check up on you.
    • If you are using with others, avoid all using at the same time. More advice on this is provided in point five (stagger your dose). 


    3. Check your drugs

    • Submit an anonymous sample of the substance to the WEDINOS Project for analysis. It will take a few days to get the results back, so go easy in the meantime.
    • Fentanyl strips do not test for nitazene.


    4. Start low, go slow

    • Start with a lower dose and wait for the peak effects to pass
    • If you’re using illicit pills, consider splitting them and starting with a fraction of the pill. If you can’t split the pill, you might want to consider using the crush, dab, wait method. This was designed for MDMA users and is more applicable to powder or crystal form drugs, but could also keep you safer when using other pills.


    5. Stagger your dose

    • Make sure you are with a friend and one or both of you have naloxone. 
    • If one person uses their drugs first, wait until the peak effects have worn off before the other person uses. This makes it much more likely that there is someone who can respond in the case of an overdose.


    6. Overdose response 

    • If someone overdoses, administer naloxone and call an ambulance.
    • Recent overdoses have required multiple doses of naloxone. You do not need to give doses at a faster rate, but you might need more than one naloxone kit. Continue to administer naloxone as you were trained to, and do not give multiple doses at once.
    • Aim to restore breathing rather than consciousness. As well as synthetic opioids, drugs may be contaminated with other substances such as benzos or xylazine, which can lead to heavy sedation.
    • Overdose symptoms returning is more likely with nitazenes, so make sure you observe someone for longer than you would with a normal heroin overdose. 
    • Naloxone only works on opioids. It’s best to use naloxone if you think someone has overdosed, even if you’re not sure what they’ve taken –  naloxone will not harm them.
    • While mixing different drugs is common, it is more likely to cause an overdose. Try to use one drug at a time. If you are going to mix drugs, use less of each.


    7. Seek substitute medication and other prescribing support 

    • If you use opioids every day, your local drug service can support you and prescribe alternatives such as methadone or buprenorphine. Abstinence does not need to be your goal; these alternatives can help to keep you much safer.
    • If you are already in treatment for opioid dependence and you don’t want to use on top, speak to your prescriber and make sure you’re getting the right dose for you.
      • Check out the SODA tool to help you determine if your dose is right. 
    • If you do still want to use on top, that is okay too, but be aware that there are higher risks now of overdosing. 
    • If you don’t use opioids but are worried about your drug use and you take illicit benzos every day, you can also talk to your treatment provider about how they can support you.



    Jon Findlay (National Harm Reduction Lead, Humankind)

    Deb Hussey (National Safer Lives Lead, Turning Point)

    Peter Furlong (National Harm Reduction Lead, Change Grow Live)

    Chris Rintoul (Innovation & Harm Reduction Lead, Cranstoun)

    Kate Blazey (Interim Medical Director, With You)

    Dr. Judith Yates (International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies – IDHDP)

    Shayla S. Schlossenberg (Drugs Service Coordinator, Release)

    Mat Southwell (Project Executive, EuroNPUD

    Roz Gittins (Director of Care Standards and Practice Improvement, Via)

    Rob Barker (Campaigns and Communications Lead, Barod)

    Justina Murray (CEO, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs)

    Prof Adam Winstock (Consultant psychiatrist & addiction medicine specialist)

  8. Via and Amitis Group take over Awakn Clinics London

    05 July 2023 by Kate Bonner

    Via is proud to announce that it is launching a new and exciting joint venture with UK private investment company, Amitis Group, to take over treatment provision at Awakn Clinics London. 

    Awakn Life Sciences Corp (Awakn) is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics to treat addiction with a near-term focus on alcohol use disorder. In addition to research and development (R&D), Awakn operates a healthcare services business unit with clinics in the UK and Norway. 

    Awakn recently announced that it will be exiting from healthcare service delivery to focus solely on biotechnology R&D.   

    Following Awakn’s restructure, Via’s joint venture with Amitis Group has acquired Awakn London Limited, a central London clinic trading as Awakn Clinics London. Via is now leading all treatments and therapies at the Awakn Clinics London with implementation starting from 5 July 2023.  

    The ground-breaking treatments involve the use of ketamine, in a controlled and supervised setting as part of a range of psychotherapy sessions, to help people access and process difficult emotions and experiences. It has shown positive results in managing a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol relapse prevention.   

    Anna Whitton, CEO of Via said: “This is an incredible opportunity for Via to be at the cutting-edge of new therapeutic treatments and is a significant step forward in the potential to bring these treatments into the mainstream, with a view to facilitate access to people most in need. We’re excited about this partnership, the opportunity to continue engaging with the innovation, impact and research journey, and also collaborating with partners and colleagues in the drug and alcohol sector.” 

    Dr Arun Dhandayudham, Executive Medical Director at Via and Chief Medical Officer at Awakn added: ‘Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a significant development in the field of mental health and addictions treatment, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. As medical professionals, it’s our responsibility to ensure that people have access to the most effective and safe treatments available. We look forward to expanding the availability of this treatment and to continue to research its potential benefits and risks. This treatment has shown promising results in clinical trials and offers hope to those who have not found relief from traditional therapies. I’m very confident that bringing Awakn Clinics London under the Via umbrella will be a powerful way to drive this treatment forward and give so many people fresh hope.” 

    Roz Gittins, Director of Care Standards and Practice Improvement at Via and a member of Drug Science’s Medical Psychedelic Working Group commented: “This is a really exciting time for Via to be leading the way on the use of medical psychedelics in clinical practice. I’m looking forward to support leading on this joint venture to enable greater access and improved research in the management of mental health conditions.” 

    Dr Rachel Britton, Clinical Lead at Via and Consultant Pharmacist at Awakn said: “I’m joining Via at an exciting time as we look to bring psychedelic medicine towards the mainstream. I’ve been fortunate to work with Awakn from the very beginning, establishing the first clinic of its kind in the UK. I look forward to working with the staff teams to build momentum and offer an alternative where existing therapies have failed.” 

    Anthony Tennyson, CEO of Awakn Life Sciences Corp. stated: “When we launched the first clinic in the UK, our goal was to be able to provide greater access to medicine to those in need.  We are happy to transition Awakn Clinics London to Via, allowing us to focus on our efforts on research and development of therapeutics to treat addiction, especially our phase 3 trial of Ketamine assisted therapy for alcohol relapse prevention, where we are working with ten NHS trusts and the University of Exeter under a NIHR grant, with a goal to have the treatment available throughout the NHS. We look forward working closely with Via to gather additional real world evidence to support our ongoing research.”   

    Adam Feldheim, Partner at Amitis Group stated: ‘’We are extremely happy to invest and partner alongside Via in this new venture. Via is a leader in providing addiction and mental health care in the UK and we are looking forward to working closely with them in bringing their expertise and standards of care to this new frontier.’’ 


    About Awakn Life Sciences Corp. 

    Awakn Life Sciences Corp. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics targeting addiction.  Awakn has a near-term focus on Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), a condition affecting 285m people globally for which the current standard of care is inadequate. Our goal is to provide breakthrough therapeutics to addiction sufferers in desperate need and our strategy is focused on commercializing our R&D pipeline across multiple channels.  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |   

    About Amitis Group 

    Amitis Goup is a ‘New Frontier Sustainable Wellness’ investment group with a philosophy that emphasises data-backed, clinically validated and under-funded solutions that prioritise human health. The goal of Amitis is to support and accelerate the development of the healthcare system of the future, prioritising preventative care, health optimisation and forward looking sustainable outcomes.

  9. We are Via

    05 June 2023 by Kate Bonner

    Anna Whitton, CEO of Via shares the story of our name and brand change and a look at what’s next in our journey.

    This year WDP (Westminster Drug Project) turns 30 and, at this milestone, we’re also changing our name.

    For people who know us and what we do, the decision to make this change will probably make sense. We aren’t a drugs project in Westminster anymore, and haven’t been for some time. Our services are now delivered in lots of different areas across England. These services also now include young peoples’ services and IPS services, for example, as well as the integrated community and residential drug and alcohol services that people know us best for. So our growth and development have led us to a really positive point where we’ve outgrown our original name.

    In saying this, changing the name of an organisation is a big decision and finding a new name is not easy. Because of that, we invested time in listening to what people had to say about who we are, how we do things and what makes us different. We wanted to know what people really thought about our name and brand, both now and with an eye on future changes and developments.

    Asha & Co led this piece of work for us and spent time with people who use our services, those who work and volunteer for us, and commissioners who know us well – along with those who don’t. They conducted one-to-one and small group interviews to explore in detail perspectives from a diverse group of people across a number of different roles, as well as undertaking broader research, review and reflection work.

    The feedback from this initial phase was really clear and consistent. People told us that they wanted a name that was more discreet, that was simple, clear and not tied to any particular geography or substance. Importantly, they also told us to reflect our humility in our name and brand, that the work we do is inspiring, but that claiming this in a name can be off-putting and doesn’t really reflect the way in which we already communicate. So, the task for any new name and brand was not a simple one and came with many requirements, including not losing the legacy of the last 30 years and our development over time.

    Our new name and brand were developed by Asha & Co, utilising the research they had undertaken, and the strong perspectives communicated from many different voices. Critically, while our senior team and board of trustees have known about the new name and brand for several months now, other than participating in the final approval process, our influence over its development was no more significant than anyone else who contributed to the original research phase. This was important to us – we wanted a name and brand that really reflected who we are, not what I or we as the ‘senior team’ thought it should be.

    Our new name is Via.

    Via reflects that we are part of a journey, that everyone’s journey is different, and that we work with people along their individual route. Our logo reflects that too. You’ll see that it changes, signalling the different paths that people take and choices that can be made.

    You’ll also see that our logo is black and white. It is clear, simple and easy to recognise in its different forms. It changes as you click through our new website and on our different service materials, but it is very clearly us.

    The colour in our brand comes from photography. That photography reflects the real world, not a perfect world. Our headline photographs purposefully don’t include faces, as we think that can feel limiting or excluding and so instead the images reflect moments, beauty in the everyday and people connected to the world that they live in. In effect, real life and lived experiences.

    The way that we’re using photography means that over the next 12 months we want to move to a position where all of our headline photographs are taken by the people who use our services, or who work or volunteer for us. We want to have a brand that can really feel owned by those who are central to what we do. That’s something we’re really excited by and I hadn’t anticipated that a change of name could bring such compelling opportunities to connect our work.

    The new name and brand also support changes across our service premises. We aren’t just changing the external signage but are taking the time to enhance our internal spaces too. Many already have murals that have been co-developed with people who use our services, so we’ve thought carefully about how the new brand works with those spaces and we’re excited about how it all comes together to support safe, welcoming and positive service environments.

    There has been lots to do to implement this initial but big change, and we’re really lucky to have had a great team of people to make that happen.

    We’ve got an exciting programme of work ahead of us, building on much of the progress that we’ve been making over the last few years. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of that, and that we continue on our really exciting and important journey too.

    Watch our short film to hear more about the story of our brand change:

    A version of this article also appeared in the June 2023 issue of DDN.

  10. Health and wellbeing charity WDP changes its name to Via

    by Kate Bonner

    Today, we are proud and excited to announce we’ve rebranded and changed our name from WDP to Via.

    After 30 years of providing life-changing care, we’re moving away from a name we’ve outgrown. The name Westminster Drug Project (WDP) represented our origins – a drugs project in Westminster – but it no longer speaks to who we are now, what we do or our ambitions for the future.

    As well as our transformational drug and alcohol services, we support adults and young people across the UK around their mental health, sexual health, and if they want to stop smoking. We also work with people interested in employment opportunities as part of their recovery journey.

    The decision to change our name has been warmly welcomed by the people that use our services, our staff and volunteers, and our commissioners.

    In our wide-ranging consultation work, we had lot of positive feedback about what people liked about us and didn’t want to lose. However, it was really clear that they wanted a name change, to something that was more discreet, simple, clear and not tied to any particular geography or substance. Working closely with creative agency, Asha & Co, our new name and brand were created to deliver against that feedback and to show who we are now.

    Our new name Via reflects that we’re part of a journey, that everyone’s journey is different, and that we offer consistent expertise to work with people along their individual route.

    Our logo illustrates this journey too as it can flex and change, signalling the different paths that people take, and the choices that can be made.

    The new logo is also black and white, so it’s clear, simple and easy to recognise in its different forms. It changes as you click through our new website and on our different service materials.

    The colour in our new brand comes from photography. The headline photographs we are now using purposefully don’t include faces, as it can feel limiting or excluding. Instead, the images reflect moments, beauty in the everyday and people connected to the world that they live in – real life and lived experiences. Over time, all of our headline photographs will be replaced by photographs taken by people with lived experience.

    Watch our short film to hear more about how and why we’ve changed our name:

    Anna Whitton, CEO of Via said: “This year we turn 30 and it is the right time for a new name that reflects our journey and responds to important feedback from the people we work with. Thank you to everyone who has helped us to make this decision and to deliver and launch an exciting new brand.”

    Yasmin Batliwala, Chair of Via commented: “WDP has grown and developed over the last 30 years as has its reputation for quality and client focussed care.  The change of name to ‘Via’ will enable us to embrace our determination to be the best provider of drug and alcohol services in the UK.”