New service to help fight drug and alcohol addiction in Middlesbrough

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PEOPLE recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are to get support from peers who have battled the same problems thanks to a new partnership.

Middlesbrough’s Recovery Service will be run by Tees Valley Housing and Hope North East after they won the bid to deliver the specialist service user-led drug and alcohol recovery scheme.

The contract, which will run for up to five years, will see people in recovery given help and support from their peers.

Helen Neal, head of supported housing for Tees Valley Housing, said: “This is about people who are in recovery helping other people in recovery. It helps to be supported by someone who has been through and overcome the same problems, encouraging them into a positive life.”

The scheme will deliver a range of support services, including peer support, peer mentoring, drop-ins, family and parenting support, supported accommodation, volunteer placements and motivational work.

A Hope North East service user, who did not want to be identified, said: “The fight against addiction is ongoing. In any hard battle it is wonderful to encounter a powerful ally.”

Staff members will be based in housing offices run by Tees Valley Housing and Erimus Housing, one of its partners in Fabrick Housing Group, to link into neighbourhoods and address the issues faced by wider communities.

Hope North East is a user-led drug and alcohol recovery support service, providing support for people wanting to go down an abstinence-based approach to their drug and alcohol problems.

Eighty per cent of the group’s staff members are in recovery from addiction and in 2012, the organisation was presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK for outstanding work done in their local communities.

Matt Fowler, business manager for Hope North East, said: “We will put service users, carers and families at the heart of our delivery and bring about a cultural change in recovery within Middlesbrough.

“This recovery will be characterised by reduced drug and alcohol misuse, improved public health outcomes, safer communities, reduced re-offending, increased aspiration, successful community re-integration and hope for the future.”

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