The Well gives recovering addicts a new lifeline
31 Mar 2015
PEOPLE recovering from drug and alcohol addiction have been telling how a local project has given them a brighter future.
Guests invited to a special event held in Barrow, heard first-hand how people with complex dependency issues have been able to move on and re-build their lives after receiving support from The Well.
Set up in 2012 by Dave Higham – himself a recovering addict and ex-offender, The Well offers a safe and supportive place for people leaving re-hab, treatment centres and prison. With hubs in Barrow, Lancaster and Morecambe, the project provides housing for up to six months with 24-hour support as well as therapeutic and cognitive programmes, mentoring and a variety of social activities which individuals, families and local communities can take part in.
Members can also get help accessing education, employment and volunteering, and a new social enterprise has been launched to help ex-offenders get back into work. Working with the Gateways Substance Misuse Service, The Well will give individuals training and the opportunity to become self-employed as a hairdresser or a chef.’
Dave Higham explains why he set up the project: ‘For many people coming out of prison or re-hab, there is nowhere to go for support. When I left prison in 2007, I felt isolated and contemplated going back to the area where I committed crime and took drugs.
After spending some time working in a rehabilitation centre, I realised that long-term recovery can happen if people going through the same experience support each other. The visible recovery of one person helps others to see a role model they can aspire to and that’s what happens at The Well.
‘Unlike some other drug and alcohol support services, members can stay with us for as long as they want. That’s what makes us different – people are able to form lasting friendships and feel part of a supportive community. The purpose of today’s event is to show those working in the health and criminal justice services what we do here because we rely on funding from a variety of organisations to deliver these important services.’
With a growing membership of 125 people, The Well is establishing itself as a trailblazer for others to follow. One Well member, Robert Meeain (31), says: ‘This project has given me hope and strength. Before I came to The Well, I couldn’t manage my life. I was in and out of prison and I felt suicidal. Now, thanks to the support I’ve received, I am free from crime and addiction. The Well has given me a new way of living.’
Penny Barker, Chief Executive of Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company, explains why The Well is so important to the local community: 'Our job is to manage and rehabilitate people who are either serving a community sentence or have left prison to rehabilitate them. Sometimes this involves helping them to overcome an addiction problem so projects like The Well provide us with an invaluable service. When we help people break free from addiction and crime, we make our communities safer places to live while cutting re-offending rates and saving on the public purse.’