Phoenix collaborate on ground breaking new BBC documentary

node leader
5 July 2017

Phoenix Futures have been working with an award winning TV Production Company and the BBC to produce a ground breaking 2 part documentary that shows life inside the country’s only rehab for mums, dads and children. 

Based in Sheffield the National Specialist Family Service was the first, and remains the only, service providing a residential rehab programme for mums and dads with their children. Filmed over a 12 month period the documentary highlights the challenges of achieving and sustaining recovery.

The 2 hour-long films will be broadcast on 18th and 25th July on BBC2 at 9pm. The programme is titled Addicted Parents: Last Chance To Keep My Children.

The first film tells the story of four mothers who have experienced long term addiction. It shows how they manage the demands of a treatment programme and focus on developing their parenting skills under the close supervision and guidance of a multi-disciplinary team.

The second film tells the story of one young couple facing an uphill battle to overcome their addiction to heroin so they can care for their two-year-old son. 

The documentary follows the parents through detox and an intensive therapeutic programme. As they learn to live without drugs, they struggle to come to terms with the past and the issues that led to their addiction. They also start to get greater insight into the impact their addiction has had on their families and their children.

Phoenix began discussions with the award winning production company, Lambent Productions, over 3 years ago and followed a rigorous process to define the objectives of the project. Lambent have a track record of producing sensitively portrayed documentaries on a range of social issues for over 18 years.

Leanne Smullen, Phoenix’s Family Service Manager talks about the planning that took place before filming began.

“This was a difficult decision to make as our primary concern throughout has been the welfare of the parents and children in our care. We spent a long time ensuring that the TV production company shared our values and were genuine in showing the reality of what we do in a way that respects our staff and service users. It was a process we entered into with great care and we think that the final programme achieves our shared aims.”

One of the key aims of the documentary was to reduce the stigma around addiction which prevents so many people from seeking help for their substance misuse issues.  It was important that the documentary offered a deep and realistic insight into the issues and experiences that can lead to addiction.

Lambent Production’s Managing Director Emma Wakefield commented:

We have been very privileged to tell the story of this unique rehab for BBC2. Filming for a year we’ve followed families from the moment they step through the doors to the moment they leave – and into a new life beyond, discovering the work of the amazing team dedicated to giving these parents and their children a second chance.”

Phoenix hope  the  documentary  will enable the public to see beyond the stigma and labels that limit access to support and treatment of any kind whether formal or informal in the community or residential setting.

Phoenix were keen that the story told was one of hope for anyone affected by addiction.  

Karen Biggs, Phoenix Chief Executive explained why Phoenix made the film:

‘’We know that enabling people in addiction and recovery to tell their story helps reduce stigma.  Stigma that limits access to treatment and limits people’s success in recovery. The documentary gives an honest insight into the experiences of people who are striving for better lives for themselves and their families. We are immensely proud of the very brave families that have allowed their stories to be told. Their honesty and openness is challenging and emotional.  We hope viewers will watch without prejudice or judgement. Most of all we hope the films give hope, comfort and encouragement to people affected by addiction. ”

Phoenix are planning a number of activities around the documentary to further explore the issues it raises. Please keep checking the website for further details.  

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Provider of Social Housing with Homes England (H3795).