Active Choices is a healthy lifestyle and behavioural change programme which helps people in drug treatment services stay drug free.

It was set up by Derby County Community Trust, Derby City Council, NHS Derby City and Phoenix Futures in June 2011.

115 people with drug and alcohol problems have turned their lives around thanks to Active Choices, which has given them the opportunity to receive one to one support and take part in worthwhile activities at a critical point in their recovery. Activities include:

  • Gym
  • Social football
  • Let’s Cook sessions
  • Bootcamp
  • Boxing
  • Swimming
  • Representing DCFC at regional and national football tournaments
  • Workout classes

The programme has been instrumental in Derby successfully improving the number of drug free exits from treatment services through a personalised plan that introduces structured and meaningful activities into individuals’ daily routines. 

The service also works with individuals with drug problems returning to the community from custodial prison sentences supporting them to change behaviours to break offending patterns. 

The Derby model is at the forefront within the substance misuse field for integrating sport and leisure activities to mainstream treatment services to improve the outcomes for service users.

Key outcomes:

  • 115 active clients
  • 100% participation
  • 30% move on to Level 1 football coaching, employment or exit with sustained behaviour change
  • 0% reoffending

Active Choices started a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) pilot in November 2012 to work with clients sentenced with a Community Order that includes a DRR.

Clients receive support to become clean within eight weeks through a 15 week intensive support package. Clients that have sustained behaviour change and are drug-free following this are offered a further eight months’ support.

The project is currently hoping to secure additional funding through NHS Derby City to continue and extend its innovative work.

For more information about Active Choices, please contact:

Sharon Dale: Health Manager, Telephone: 01332 641248, Email:

Click here to view the Active Choices statistics.

Click here to view the Active Choices press cutting.