Charity project to help drug addicts faces closure after funding crisis

A Leeds project set up to give ex addicts a place to recover may have to close down after budget cuts.

The Space, on Great George Street, was inspired by people in recovery wanting somewhere to go and ‘just be’.

The project, which helps more than 13o members, aims to create a recovery community so people don’t have to go back to rehabilitation programmes, which was all that was available to them before.

However after cuts to local authority spending, the project’s parent charity Multiple Choice will have to close down if they can’t find more funding.

The charity provides rehabilitation and reintegration services for Leeds residents dealing with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

Chief executive officer of Multiple Choice, Caroline Mackay, 49, said: “We realised that rehabilitation services aren’t enough.

“When people come out of treatment they have spent time being protected and cushioned from the outside world but when they come out they’re just expected to slip straight back in to normal life often with nowhere to go.”

Multiple Choice gives people engaged in treatment and recovery in Leeds the chance to support others as part of their treatment and the charity has had numerous success stories as a result of this service.

One user of The Space who doesn’t want to be named said: “The Space is like a route in to work for me. It’s helping me get used to working again and the community environment is just fantastic.

“After more than 30 years of drug addiction and suffering mental health issues as a result I’d reached rock bottom when I first came to Multiple Choice but if you could see me then to how I am now, the difference is unbelievable.”

A new service is to be launched by Leeds City Council this summer which will offer a more integrated treatment for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. However the new scheme, which was put to tender, meant small organisations like Multiple Choice lost out in the bid.

The charity believes it is grassroots services like theirs that offer the best support for people in recovery as they are more in tune with what people in the community really need.

Crucially, the new service is not likely to offer post treatment care like The Space currently offers, something users think essential.

However the charity is confident that there are enough people who want to see the project carry on and hope that through creative fundraising ideas they can continue providing this service.

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