A Widnes man with a history of drug abuse is drawing on his own experiences to help boost rehabilitation rates across the Liverpool City Region.


Stuart Sinnott struggled with drug addiction since he was eight years old and left school with no education or qualifications. He entered Change Grow Live services in Halton in 2017 where he was supported into treatment and began his recovery.

Stuart Sinnott

Now Stuart has been employed as an Engagement Recovery Coordinator, referring people experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol for assessment and treatment.

The opportunity came to fruition after Stuart was referred to Realise, one of the UK’s leading training providers which is responsible for delivering adult education courses in the Liverpool City Region, to help reach his full potential.

Funded by Liverpool Combined Authority

Stuart completed a Health and Social Care Level 2 course with the help of Anne Marie Edwards, his dedicated assessor at Realise who tailored the programme to meet his requirements.

He said: “When I was at school I found it difficult to communicate. This continued as I grew up and became particularly difficult when I had to take exams and find a job.

“For 30 years I avoided learning. However, I’m happy that I decided to do this course because Anne Marie took the time to understand me and really supported my learning needs.

“She was also able to do things such as send me questions ahead of assessments and give me time to read and research what I wanted to say. I was then able to go on Zoom and verbally give my answers as this is how I felt most comfortable.

“Anne Marie was caring and patient and taught me not to hide through fear of getting things wrong. The whole team at Realise went above and beyond to do everything they could to make my life as easy as possible and make sure I passed.

“I truly believe that without her help I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this qualification.”


After completing his recovery

Stuart started a volunteer position at Change Grow Live, as a Recovery Champion, and developed an interest in wanting to further his education and learning.

The training with Realise paved the way for Stuart to secure a full-time position at Halton Integrated Recovery Services.

He added: “I work in the front of house team answering telephone calls and dealing with online forms from people who find themselves in a similar situation to what I was in.

“My experiences have put me in a very good position to be able to assess these individuals because everyone’s situation is different.

“I understand that most people just want someone to talk to and know they can offload any issues without being judged.”


Anne Marie Edwards

Training and Development Officer at Realise, said: “When I first met Stuart, I knew straight away that with a little bit of help and support he’d have so much to offer an employer.

“Initially he was very reluctant to open up but that’s because he wasn’t a confident communicator, so we had to find alternative ways to get him out of his shell.

“Just because one way might work for most people doesn’t make that the right way for everyone. Stuart really struggled with an inferiority complex. It was really rewarding to see him grow once he realised what he could achieve.

“We still stay in regular contact and I take a keen interest in what he gets up to because I believe Stuart is the perfect example that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

Amongst the qualifications delivered by Realise….

Residents of Liverpool City Region are eligible to complete Awards for Mental Health Awareness, Adult Social Care and Working as a Security Officer, as well as functional skills qualifications in English and Maths.

Realise provides first class skills, education and employment services to more than 7,000 learners and thousands of employers across the UK every year.

Stuart’s story in the press

Stuart has recently shared his story with the Liverpool Echo.

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