Our team

Senior Management Team

Dot Turton, CEO

Laura Reid, Business Manager

Richy Cunningham, Regional Service Manager

Jenny Bryson, Regional Service Manager

Neil Slade, General Manager of Recovery Connections Enterprise

Karen Smethurst, Finance Manager

Operational Management Team

Ricky Vasey, Rehab Manager, Middlesbrough

Joe Stringer, Rehab Manager, Gateshead

Hayley Francis, Community Lead (Stockton)

Andrew Robinson, Community Lead (Middlesbrough)

Emma Ferguson, Community Lead (Gateshead)

Admin Team 

We have two Business Administrators whose roles are to take care of the administration for Recovery Connections and for our social enterprise businesses. 

Community Team 

Our community teams are based in 3 different localities (Middlesbrough, Gateshead and Stockton), the majority of the individuals in the teams are in recovery themselves – visible recovery is very important to us and a huge part of what we do; this team focuses on facilitating our community groups, providing 1-2-1 support and arranging events.

Rehab Team 

Our rehab team consists of 7 individuals, all of whom are in recovery themselves. The roles of this team range from pre-hab consultation to rehab coaches and concierge staff. 

Trauma Team

The trauma aspect of the service is in partnership with My Sister’s Place. The programme compliments our existing recovery pathway to support people in understanding the part trauma may have played in their own experiences of addiction and recovery. 

Other Departments

Our Marketing and Communications Officer manages all of the social media, marketing, websites and content for Recovery Connections and Recovery Connections Enterprise. They create design and video material both in-house and through liaising with external agencies. 

Our Campus Recovery Worker works within educational establishments to create peer networks and visible recovery. They currently work within Teesside University and Middlesbrough College offering support and advice to young people struggling with addiction in any aspect of life.

Key external relationships

John Elford 

John is the designer of the Integrated Step Course, the staff induction and other key elements of the service delivery that we offer. He spent a year delivering staff supervision as the programme became established – we still use John’s programme and resources today. Find out more on the Get into Recovery website. You can also read John’s contribution to our blog, here.

Board of Trustees

Ruth Hicks (Chair)

Ruth has been a Trustee of Recovery Connections (formerly Hope North East) since our inauguration; she has been involved with the charity sector as a Trustee since 2007 where she began her journey with vulnerable adults with Durham Lesotho Link who worked with people in South Africa during the HIV/AIDS pandemic. While Assistant Director of Adult Social Care, she joined the Joint Commissioning Group for Middlesbrough and developed a particular interest in working with people in addiction and this work remained a priority following retirement. 

‘The most rewarding part of being involved in Recovery Connections is working with people in recovery and hearing stories which demonstrate how they have made a difference to their own lives and others – it is truly inspiring.’

Bridget Holmstrom

Dave Barras

Dave’s professional background is as a Learning Disability Nurse and Social Services Manager since 1990; he established a social enterprise in 2010 called ‘Positive Support for You CIC’. The organisation passionately believe that adults with learning disabilities, Autism and mental ill  health can live great lives in their communities and support them to do this through individualised care and support.

‘I was keen to work with Recovery Connections so that I could contribute to their great work and perhaps learn something myself in the process. Working with Recovery Connections has enabled me to hear powerful stories of people lives and their own individual journey through the recovery pathway – it is hard not to be moved and inspired.’  

Georgios Antonopolous

Margaret Philips

Nick Wallis