The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

New addiction recovery centre set to open in Norwich 

A Norfolk drug and alcohol charity is creating a brand new centre in Norwich for people in recovery from addiction and is appealing for £250,000 to finish the project.

The Next Steps Recovery Centre, based on Oak Street, will be the first of its kind in Norfolk, providing a space where those in recovery can learn new skills, access support, and be part of a new recovery community.

The centre will be run by the Matthew Project, a Norfolk-based charity, established in 1984, which now supports over 1,600 children, adults, and veterans every year who have been affected in some way by drug and alcohol misuse.  

The first phase of development for Next Steps has been completed, and work with veterans and people in recovery is already under way. When fully complete, Next Steps will include a café, open to the public, a skills and employability workshop, an exercise studio, one-to-one therapy rooms, an IT suite, an art studio, and areas for group support. The centre will support hundreds of people per year, including people in recovery, veterans, and children affected by a parent or carer’s substance misuse.

Initial funding for Next Steps was awarded by Norfolk County Council and Public Health England. The Matthew Project are currently seeking an additional £250,000 for the final phase of refurbishment, which will see the centre officially opening later in the year.

The charity is also holding a fundraising event on the evening of May 2 to raise more funds towards this final phase of development. This will give potential investors the opportunity to see the building, hear the stories of the difference Next Steps is already making for people in recovery, and to help fund an area of the building or a piece of equipment.

Andy Sexton, CEO at the Matthew Project, said: “Our hope is that by providing a safe place, where people can find new friends, new community, new support networks and new skills, we will be able to empower people to move on from treatment and into healthier, fuller lives. Children who are affected by their parents’ addiction, and veterans with PTSD and drug and alcohol issues, will also receive help through tailored activities at the centre.”

Drug misuse is a big issue both locally and nationally, and even once somebody is in recovery from addiction, relapse remains a risk. The relapse rate for substance misuse is typically between 40% and 60%. For alcohol, this figure is higher, with 90% relapsing within four years. However, the data also shows that the longer somebody remains abstinent, the lower their risk of relapse. The first year of recovery is crucial, and sees average relapse rates drop from 50% at the beginning to 30% at the end. After five years of abstinence, this figure drops to 15%. Therefore, supporting people in the early stages of recovery – and beyond – can significantly reduce their risk of relapse.
People who have long-term alcohol or drug problems can lose contact with friends and family and start to feel isolated, putting them at risk of relapse. Therefore a focus on community is essential in reducing this risk. 

If you’d like to be involved in the development of this exciting new venture, the Next Steps fundraising event will be held on May 2 from 6pm until 8pm. The centre is located at 70-80 Oak Street, Norwich NR3 3AQ. If you would like to attend please email jess.macdonald@matthewproject.org or call 01603 626123.

Donations can also be made via the Matthew Project’s Total Giving page.

Click here to see a full brochure on the project.

Pictured above is an artist’s drawing of the completed Next Steps lobby, showing, in the foreground, the café and, in the background, the mezzanine floor (right) and exercise studio (left).

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