Working with external agencies

Find out about the external agencies that you could work with, what this might look like, the benefits of doing this and the challenges that may be encountered, in addition to detailing some examples.

Working with external agencies


At the University of Leeds, Leeds University Union has a relationship with Forward Leeds, a free confidential alcohol and drug support service, and this relationship has been very well received. The students’ union refer students in need of drug and/or alcohol support to Forward Leeds, and the university make referrals to the students’ union’s advice team, along with other harm reduction support services such as Forward Leeds and FRANK. Forward Leeds had a harm-reduction specialist advisor based within the SU building, on campus, but also at their own premises. This provided students with the option to make use of this service both on campus and externally, dependent on their preference. Therefore, students could seek support via the university, but some would prefer to engage with an external party that do not liaise with the university, and so they were able to seek support from the students’ union or an external service such as Forward Leeds directly.

Similarly, at Keele University, there is a smooth referral pathway to Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service (stars) in place for students who need specialist support for drug and/or alcohol use. A number of students have been referred into the service, with many more actively signposted to it via follow ups from incidents or educational first conversations. No issues have been experienced with the pathway and it is recognised that students receive positive support from the service.



At UWE (Bristol), students are signposted to external agencies that are able to provide drug testing kits. Students can find information regarding these external agencies via the university and student union’s drug and alcohol webpages.

The external agency signposted to by UWE is Wedinos, a harm reduction project offering anonymous and free drug testing via post. Additionally, information is available on the students’ union’s website and their ‘Let’s Talk About Drugs’ videos, with alternative websites that students can visit and use to get drugs checked also shared.


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