Yvonne Oliver

Founder and Former Chief Executive of the award winning Ripple Drugs Services, Yvonne Oliver, studied for A Levels from 1984 to 1986 and MA Managing Change from 1992 to 1994 at Bradford and & Ilkley College. She also worked at College from 1993 to 1994 as Development Officer for the Students’ Union.

Yvonne OliverYvonne gained a BA (Hons) Public Media & Communications degree at Leeds University in 1989 and before working in drug and alcohol treatment she had a varied career including working in public relations and radio production. She can be heard every Sunday morning on Pulse Gold as a comedy character ‘R Yvonne’ on The Full Breakfast.

“My life is best explained in 2 halves; before the age of 31 and afterwards. Before, I was the subject of an unhappy childhood environment and discovered an escape through alcohol and drugs which led to crime and prison. After, I began to recover and to discover how important personal and professional development was to achieving my utmost potential.”

Yvonne single-handedly opened Ripple in 1998 to treat the effects of drugs and alcohol misuse on users and the wider community. She is highly respected and her post-graduate qualifications in this field include MSc Addiction Psychology & Counselling from London South Bank University. Yvonne was named BBC Yorkshire Woman of the Year in 2004 for her inspiring work through Ripple. This grew to having a turnover of £2.7m in 2007 and she was Chief Executive of Ripple Drugs Services Ltd and Ripple Accommodation Services Ltd until she resigned in November 2007 to write her forthcoming book, Brazen Hussy, which shares her story of recovery.

“My life has not been easy. Even after my recovery from addiction I had to seek professional help to come to terms with some of the awful things that had happened to me in my past, and some of the awful things I was personally responsible for. I had to battle with poor self esteem, a criminal record, family problems and many other difficulties life throws at us. In all this I have persevered to achieve many successes and to realise many visions. My motto is ‘winners never quit’ and however difficult life becomes there are people to help if we have the courage to ask for it.”

Photograph by Trevor Griffiths