The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norfolk’s first community recovery centre ready to open

This week sees the launch of a brand new £1m Norwich-based centre providing space for hundreds of vulnerable people in recovery from addiction.

Following a year of major renovation works, the Matthew Project will be officially opening the doors to its new Next Steps recovery centre on Thursday.

The centre is the first of its kind in Norfolk, providing a new space for hundreds of vulnerable people each year to learn employability skills, access support, and be part of a new recovery community. The centre will also support children affected by parental substance misuse, and veterans with drug/alcohol and PTSD issues.

Next Steps includes a café and training kitchen, a workshop, an exercise studio, an IT suit, counselling rooms, and an art studio, as well as spaces for group support. The centre has already been supporting adults in recovery since January this year, alongside renovation works.

Participant Kay said: “I am not sure even to this day what I would have done without the recovery support programme. It provided me with a focus, a place to be around others who understood me, and space to grow in confidence and develop the person I am.”

Another added: “Next Steps has given me hope and a belief that I have a future. It has given me motivation to get up in the morning, to be clean, dressed and in a good routine. Having completed 11 rehabs myself I have found Next Steps to be the most effective in supporting my recovery.”

Next Steps will be officially opened by Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk and Matthew Project patron Lady Dannatt on Thursday evening (October 17).

Ahead of the launch, Lady Dannatt said: “I am honoured and privileged to open the Next Steps recovery centre for the Matthew Project. I know that the centre will become a life-changing haven of help and support for many, and lives will be transformed as a result.”

Initial funding for the centre came from Norfolk County Council and Public Health England. This was followed by a fundraising campaign, which raised an additional £300,000 from grant funding, local businesses, and individual donations.

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

Drug misuse is a big issue both locally and nationally, and affects thousands of individuals in Norfolk each year. The relapse rate for substance misuse is typically between 40% and 60%, but this can rise to 90% for alcohol.

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. 

Donations to support the Matthew Project’s work can be made via their Total Giving page. 

Pictured above is the lobby of the completed Next Steps centre, showing the mezzanine floor and counselling rooms.

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