Public Health England has just announced a grant of £350,000 to The Nelson Trust. The money, from the national Drug and Alcohol Capital Grants Fund, has been awarded for the purchase of a building in Stroud which will serve two important purposes for Gloucestershire’s recovery community: downstairs will be an Upcycling Shop trading restored and redecorated furniture and household goods; upstairs there will be accommodation for up to four individuals who have successfully completed their addiction treatment and are just at the point of returning to paid employment.
The two initiatives are going to become the second phase of The Hub – a countywide project to support people in recovery, led by people in recovery. Project Manager Ruth Saunders explained the plan: “The Upcycling Shop will enable people to learn a range of craft skills, and then to market their products in a High Street outlet. Recycling old furniture and household items into beautiful objects is very good for the environment and the economy, and provides a lot of scope for creativity. People in recovery will be offered training, and will be able to start up their own enterprises trading through our shop. The trading profits we make will help to pay for the “stepping stone” accommodation upstairs. This is designed for people in early recovery who are moving on from supported accommodation to financial independence. The first couple of months back at work are very challenging: people need to save up about a thousand pounds for rent-in-advance and a deposit for their own tenancy, and this can be a huge obstacle. Providing subsidised housing for just three months gives people a great springboard into their own home and independence. It will be a huge asset for the whole community if it helps people to get off benefits and start working.”
The grant has been awarded thanks not only to Ruth’s efforts, but also to Gloucestershire County Council who gave full support to the proposal and allowed the bid to go forwards nationally. The County Council will work with the Nelson Trust to ensure that the grant has the maximum impact in supporting people on the journey from addiction to independence.