The path to recovery from substance abuse is a hard one to face on your own but a Lancashire organisation is on a mission to help build bridges of support whilst also helping to break down stigmas surrounding addiction.
And to prove the point volunteers and service users from Red Rose Recovery were out in force in Preston for a community litter pick to give something back to the community and to raise awareness about their work in helping people turn their lives around.
Volunteer co-ordinator Jack Barnes said: “The purpose of this litter pick is to break down stigma and boundaries between the recovery community and the wider community and this is a visible way to do this.
“It is also about our volunteers being able to give something back to the community, and to show people that there is a life through recovery and to inspire hope into people who may be struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
“Events like these are also aiming to develop skills and experiences in our volunteers which can enhance their future prospects.”
Lancashire Red Rose Recovery was set up in 2015, commissioned by Lancashire County Council Public Health to provide infrastructure support to the recovery community.
The inclusive organisation embraces people from all walks of life and backgrounds and aims to provide people affected by drug and alcohol addiction with activities, training, volunteer and employment opportunities which directly leads to better relationships, housing, education and other opportunities.
Red Rose is also connected with the Lancashire user forum which is an open and friendly meeting space where people can share their experiences, concerns and thoughts surrounding recovery.
The forum is made up and led by service users, supported by their friends, families, Red Rose Recovery workers, local treatment providers and businesses.
Held once a month it gives service users a platform where their voice can be heard and how they think ‘recovery’ should be accessible and what is best practice.
Chief executive Pete Yarwood says: “We are reaching out to people on the margins of society that no-one wants to know and we are turning their lives around to become someone who everyone wants to be.’
“We’re a recovery infrastructure organisation. This means we provide a network of support throughout your journey and beyond. In short, we’re here for you whenever you need us.”
Projects undertaken by the service users range from setting up their own social enterprises around construction, painting and decorating media to food retail and furniture restoration.
Many of the schemes provide a platform for volunteering and employment opportunities.
People are also encouraged to engage with new activities or local events from allotment projects to fishing clubs, to cooking programmes, cycle clubs or walking groups.