About Us

Lifeline Southwark is a free, safe and confidential drug and alcohol service for any adult over

the age of 18 who lives in the London Borough of Southwark.

The service supports all people from any background, who uses any kind of drug and/or alcohol and who wants to recover or change.


We work at all levels, from prevention and early engagement, through to recovery. We understand people may also be dealing with other issues and we offer a range of 'wrap around' services to support these.


Lifeline Southwark provides a full range of support services for people wanting to change their use of drugs and alcohol.

Lifeline Southwark provides a full range of support services for people wanting to change their use of drugs and alcohol.

About Lifeline

A Brief History

Our Values

About Lifeline

Established in 1971, Lifeline is a registered Charity with over forty years’ experience of providing drug and alcohol services. We currently employ almost 1,500 staff across 90 contracts nationally, including 13 in the South region.


Lifeline provides a diverse range of services including recovery, harm minimisation, prescribing and shared care, community detoxification, brief and structured interventions, activities, peer mentoring and mutual aid, criminal justice, young people, family and ETE services. Our services are spread across London, the Midlands, the North West, North West, Yorkshire and Scotland, working within diverse cities, towns and localities.


In the South, we have expanded considerably within the last three years, with continued growth. Lifeline has established a national reputation as a leader in the substance misuse field and as a provider of innovative, professional services, which embed service users at the heart of all activities.

A Brief History

Founded as a 'street service’ in Manchester in 1971, Lifeline was set up to support homeless, barbiturate injectors, providing food and social care, incorporating therapeutic techniques. This expertise led to Lifeline being awarded the first ‘DIP-style’ project in the early 1980s, working with people as an alternative to custody, and commencing education campaigns. We later expanded this work to support younger substance users.


 During the 1980s heroin epidemic Lifeline developed a regional training unit to support front-line workers on various aspects of drug use and working with users. We then introduced outreach workers in the then new NHS/Social Services community drug teams.  In response to the emerging HIV threat, Lifeline established a needle exchange in Manchester and produced awareness information for drug users.


 In the early 1990s Lifeline expanded its presence in community drug teams in the North West and procured services across local regions, including within the criminal justice sector.  Lifeline started the world’s first 'Safer Dancing' campaign in partnership with Manchester City Council, in response to the emerging Ecstasy and

‘rave culture’. At this time we became renowned for our user-led publications and earlier mission statement ‘Telling the truth about drugs’.


 From the mid-1990s, and following the first national Drugs Strategy (1999), Lifeline experienced significant national expansion, building innovative models, and building a large national workforce. In 1999 we began work in over ten prison establishments, which has expanded over the years, to now 27 prisons across several regions.


 The 2010 Drugs Strategy included a recovery-focused element. Lifeline embraced this agenda, and reviewed all of its services to provide a renewed focus on recovery and outcomes, whilst continuing to provide harm minimization, and challenge inequalities faced by service users. This shift was reflected in our new mission


‘Reducing harm, promoting recovery and reducing inequalities’.


Lifeline has continued to transform as the sector has grown; engaging with changes to policy, strategy and commissioning. Lifeline has consolidated its strengths; providing creative, cost effective responses to local needs, with an emphasis on collaboratively delivered services and innovate partnerships. We now provide several full treatment systems, directly employing or working in partnership with clinical staff and other providers. Lifeline continues to ensure that service users and other stakeholders are central to strategy, service development and delivery.

Our Values

Our approach to working with users of the service is:

Improving Lives


We believe in real and sustained change for individuals, families and communities. We build change through responsive local services, where every engagement counts towards a meaningful individual recovery experience.


Effective Engagement


We are connected to our stakeholders. We listen and respond to our beneficiaries, partners, communities and workforce in order to continually improve services, experiences and outcomes.


Exceeding Expectations


We have high expectations of what our beneficiaries and workforce can achieve together. We demonstrate this commitment through our work on customer service, diversity, leadership, and performance


Maintaining Integrity

We are honest and realistic about the multiple issues that contribute to alcohol and drug misuse. This pragmatic and understanding approach helps us in our work to overcome these challenges and develop practical solutions together.


© Lifeline Project, 2015. Registered Charity No: 515691.