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Hello, I’m Danny and I’m an Operations Manager for Hillcrest Futures. I oversee the Drug and Alcohol services at The Centre @SWR. My career journey started with CAIR Scotland as a student in 2010 and then as a project worker in 2011. I went into management in 2012 and progressed onto Operations Manager in 2022.
The work I am involved in aims to give those who are not heard a voice. The work I deliver is around empowering people to make positive changes to address issues around substance use, mental wellbeing and autism. This is delivered through a variety of settings that include harm reduction services, one-to-one drug and alcohol interventions to both young people and adults within schools, prisons and residential settings, in addition to supporting people with autism to access college with support around life skills and improving social engagements and positive relations.
The work is predominantly in homelessness and drug and alcohol specialisms. I have stayed in this line of work since my university degree as it is an area I feel passionate and motivated around. I recognise that there are many people marginalised and stigmatised today and I have always wanted to empower people to make better informed choices and support people to make sustainable change in their lives.
Harm reduction is an area that I feel very passionate about as often people who use drugs are the most stigmatised. I am proud to have a contributed to change across Tayside through developing and implementing new harm reduction strategies such as community dry blood spot testing and Take-Home Naloxone initiatives.
For some people choice is removed through their own life experiences and so I believe that services can help guide and support people back to a place of calm and safety whilst redirecting onto a path of recovery.
Hillcrest is an organisation that promotes innovation and excellence, and has enabled me to be creative and adaptive to many spontaneous opportunities that have supported the development of the services I deliver. Hillcrest Futures recognises collaboration and networking within everyone’s role and having the opportunity through wider organisation staff events has enabled me to have a far greater understanding and appreciation of all the different services and departments that are within the organisation.
Working for Hillcrest Futures means working with people and so qualities around kindness, empathy and compassion would be fundamental and help any new candidate progress positively within the organisation. Be open to learning new skills and knowledge that will challenge your own concepts and thinking but also to be reflective and creative as you will be encouraged to generate ideas and contribute to change. Having a hybrid working policy has enabled me to balance my workload better whilst having autonomy to be flexible in where I can work from home.
A major career highlight for me has been my involvement in the eradication of Hepatitis C from the injecting population across Tayside. This world first research has had international acclaim and I have been lucky enough to develop a blueprint that has now been replicated across the world based on the Tayside model.
Since joining Hillcrest Futures, I have moved up the career ladder gaining all the knowledge I can, although every day is a learning day! I have been given great opportunities to continue on my career path, and with the right guidance from my line manager, I take all that I can on-board and strive to continue my professional career.