Norfolk’s first community recovery centre to aid substance misusers

PUBLISHED: 15:47 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 17 September 2019

An artist's impression of how the new centre will look

An artist's impression of how the new centre will look


Jess MacDonald of The Matthew Project explains why a new centre in Norwich will help recovering alcoholics and drug users

Following major renovation work, the Matthew Project will soon be opening the doors to its new Next Steps recovery centre, located on Oak Street. The centre will be the first of its kind in Norfolk, providing a safe, welcoming environment where those affected by substance misuse have the opportunity to learn a range of news skills related to employability and enterprise.

Kay is currently helping to run a Recovery Support Programme (RSP) from the partially-renovated Next Steps Centre. Full of positive energy and enthusiasm for supporting people in recovery, it is hard to believe that just under two years ago Kay was herself gripped by active addiction that spanned 12 years of her life.

She said: "At the height of my drug addiction my routine consisted of four days using drugs without sleeping, and three days asleep without waking. I was consumed in so much physical, emotional and spiritual pain that I began to lose sight of who I was".

Thankfully, Kay attended an all-women's 12-step rehabilitation programme in Norwich, before being accepted onto our six-week RSP.

"The RSP provided me with a place to be around others who understood me, and a space to grow in confidence. It also taught me normal adult things, like making sure I had food in my cupboards for lunch, going to bed on time, getting up in the morning and picking what to wear."

Now, Kay uses her personal experience of addiction to show others at Next Steps that recovery is possible.

When fully completed, Next Steps will include a training kitchen, café, exercise studio, skills and employability workshop, therapy rooms, IT suite, art studio, and a range of group spaces.

In addition to those in 
recovery, Next Steps will also provide a space for counselling veterans affected by drug/alcohol misuse and PTSD, as well as providing evening group 
activities for children affected 
by parental substance misuse. 
The centre is funded by Public Health England and Norfolk County Council, along with a range of grants and donations.


For 34 years, the Matthew Project has been supporting vulnerable adults and young people in the East of England. The charity helps people to recover from the impacts of substance misuse, whether it is their own use or someone else's, to improve mental/physical health, and to boost skills and employability.

Our services include:

You may also want to watch:

Next Steps Recovery Support Programme (RSP): support service for adults in recovery from addiction.

Unity: supporting under-25s across Norfolk who are affected by their own or somebody else's drug/alcohol misuse.

Outside the Wire: supporting veterans, current serving personnel, and family members across Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex, in addition to offering support within the criminal justice system.

On Track: providing employment support for disengaged 16-24 year olds across Norfolk.

Youth and Family Team: providing a range of services across Norfolk, including smoking cessation, social prescribing, substance misuse education in schools and life coaching.

For more information, please visit:

If you are interested in volunteering to help support vulnerable people, please call 01603 626123.


On Thursday September 26 at 7.30pm we will be holding our annual service of Remembrance at Norwich Cathedral, offering a chance for family, friends and organisations to remember those lost as a result of alcohol and drug misuse.

Anyone is welcome to attend, including those who are battling with drug and alcohol use themselves, or who are supporting someone else with addiction. Wherever you are on your journey you would be welcome to join us.

During the service there will be an opportunity for people to choose a pebble and place it in front of the altar in memory of the person they have known and cared for. A Book of Remembrance will also be available in which names of loved ones and messages may be recorded.

Tea and coffee will be provided after the service and Matthew project staff will be on hand to talk to.

For more information please call 01603 626 123 or email

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