"reducing alcohol and drug related harm in our communities"


ASCERT Celebrates Getting the ‘Key of the Door’

ASCERT, is celebrating getting ‘the key of the door’ this month as it marks the significant milestone of turning 21 years old.

Our organisation which was founded back in November 1998, started its journey as a community response to concerns about drug misuse in the Lisburn area. During the past two decades we have expanded its work into other villages, towns and cities throughout Northern Ireland.

Over those 21 years, ASCERT has accumulated an extensive experience of evidence-based service development, planning and delivery across a range of disciplines and now supports over 10,000 young people, adults and families, workforces and communities annually.

ASCERT’s services and supports, many of which are delivered in partnership, are designed to reduce levels of alcohol and drug related harm in our communities and include:

  • Information, advice and signposting services.
  • Prevention, life skills and harm reduction programmes for young people.
  • Interventions for individuals of all ages affected by substance misuse and their family members.
  • Support for people affected by another’s substance use.
  • Family therapy services.
  • Training for practitioners, organisations and groups related to substance use and suicide prevention.

Historically, turning 21 years old would have been see as the watershed of having attained full maturity, often symbolised by giving a person who had reached that age a key of the door to the family home. For ASCERT, we have chosen to harness turning 21 as a means to communicate out to our stakeholders that the charity itself has attained ‘full maturity’ in terms of the longevity of experience and the associated vast accumulation of knowledge and expertise it has built up, that now makes us one of the leading regional authorities on substance misuse. 

Throughout our anniversary year, ASCERT has a number of numerically-themed awareness raising initiatives planned, all designed to help ensure those that might need or benefit from our charity’s help, are aware that ASCERT is there for them.

Geoff Scott, ASCERT’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator outlined the objectives behind one of those awareness initiatives, the ’21 Voices’ campaign. He said: “Throughout the next 12 months we hope to gather and share at least 21 individual’s stories connected to their own personal perspective on substance misuse, or supporting someone affected by substance misuse, to help inform and positively influence societal attitudes to addiction and substance dependency.

“All too often we can be quick to form unhelpful or misinformed preconceptions about the type of person who is affected by substance misuse. We may feel that this is something that could not ever happen to us or anyone we know, or that those that do experience challenges are undeserving of our sympathies and compassion.

“With the pervasive usage of alcohol and prescription medications here in Northern Irish society and the often all too easy access to illicit substances, none of us can really know who could develop an issue. There are also many thousands of people out there living in all our communities with the ‘hidden harm’ that another’s substance misuse can cause.

“We hope that by sharing real and personal first-hand accounts of how substance misuse affects lives through our ’21 Voices’ campaign, we will put a ‘face’ to this issue which in turn can help to create a more understanding and empathetic environment here in Northern Ireland in which to deliver our services and supports over the next 21 years.”

If you would like to find out how you can get involved in ASCERT’s ’21 Voices’ campaign, please email: geoffs@ascert.biz

Some of the ASCERT team in our offices in Lisburn, Belfast, Omagh and Magherafelt celebrating getting the 'key of the door'...


Back to Listing

23 Bridge Street,
Co. Antrim
BT28 1XZ

Tel: 0800 2545 123
Fax: 028 9260 3874
Email: info@ascert.biz
Charity Number: NIC101239