The Aspect pilot project in Stevenage was set up in May 2004 and was funded via the Hertfordshire Crime and Disorder Drugs and Alcohol Performance Management Group's Young People's Substance Misuse Partnership grant.

It aimed to provide substance misuse information and support, in a culturally sensitive way, to parents and carers from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in Stevenage. The desired result was to recruit volunteers from BME communities to encourage parents and carers to use this information to offer informal early intervention or ongoing support to family and friends in need.

The project was designed to meet the needs of parents and carers for information about drug and substance misuse (DSM) reflecting both individual needs and the available resources. This was to allow the BME communities to form their own support networks for young people and families living with substance users.


Four objectives formed part of Aspect:

1. To establish whether DSM support agencies have sufficient BME community awareness to engage our target groups

2. To understand cultural sensitivities of each BME group

3. To build a comprehensive database on the Stevenage BME community with regard to drug and substance misuse in the BME community

4. To develop a model for managing community projects effectively


In order to achieve the mentioned objectives, these were some of the activities that were carried out:

  • A group of stakeholders that serve Stevenage were targeted
  • The scope of services the stakeholders offered to DSMs were discovered
  • These services were assessed for quality and cultural sensitivity
  • BME service users were encouraged to maintain contact with Aspect in order to monitor the relationships between service users and providers
  • An ethnically-balance Advisory Group was formed, to ensure all target BME groups contributed
  • DSM awareness programmes were developed to acknowledge cultural sensitivities
  • Volunteers were encouraged to participate in the programme to work with parents and carers from BME communities in Stevenage

Aspect achieved a number of successes, with many local community members saying: 'Aspect has made a difference in the community.'