A Lowestoft garage is hoping to be a bumper success in helping people overcoming drug and alcohol problems rebuild their lives.

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Yesterday saw the official launch of Andy’s Local Garage which has three apprentices that are learning new skills an gaining confidence as they put their troubled pasts behind them in a flagship scheme.

The garage in Belvedere Road was opened in April and was set up the Lowestoft-based residential rehabilitation company East Coast Recovery and Andy Spence who owned a previous garage on the site.

For the last three months Cat Bye, 32, and Jake Tollit, 19, have been working as mechanical engineering apprentices while Graham Lister, 49 gives a warm welcome in its front office as a customer services apprentice.

It is hoped when they finish their apprenticeships they will stay on at Andy’s Local Garage and help the next round of apprentices coming through the East Coast Recovery’s rehabilitation system.

Jake, who was referred to East Coast Recovery for his alcohol and drug problems, said: “I am really enjoying working here. It has given me a reason to get up in the morning. It has given me a work ethos and improved my confidence.”

East Coast Recovery works with people who self refer and people who have been referred by drug and alcohol action teams across the country.

The garage is a 50/50 partnership between East Coast Recovery and Mr Spence.

It was set up after the rehabilitation company was given a £10,000 grant from the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team as it tied in with government plans for reorganising recovery services.

Daniel Farnham, chief executive of East Coast Recovery which has helped 650 people in the last four years, said: “Our strap line says realising your potential, and that is what this garage can offer to people.”

Simon Aalders, Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team co-ordinator, said: “I think this garage is a flagship project.”

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