Blow to drugs charity's plans

Plans to help young people whose lives are affected by drug and alcohol abuse have been dealt a blow after a scheme to open a charity advice centre in a seaside town hit an unexpected snag.

Plans to help young people whose lives are affected by drug and alcohol abuse have been dealt a blow after a scheme to open a charity advice centre in a seaside town hit an unexpected snag.

The Matthew Project had applied to set up a drop-in centre at Cromer to provide advice and support for hundreds of youngsters across north Norfolk who are worried about drug and alcohol misuse or have suffered mental and physical damage from them.

But the charity's proposed Tucker Street project has been shelved because the landlord of the building the organisation wanted to move into offered it to somebody else instead.

Now the Matthew Project, which handed out drugs advice to 19,000 Norfolk youngsters last year, has been forced to go back to the drawing board and start looking again for possible locations across Cromer for the centre.

The 23-year-old organisation, which has bases in Thetford, King's Lynn and Yarmouth, also helps provide temporary accommodation for vulnerable people and organises educational trips to school so pupils can learn about the evils of drug and alcohol abuse.

Julian Bryant, director of the Norwich-based charity, says the news is a double blow to the town as the centre would also have had many facilities for local groups to use, such as meeting rooms and computer equipment.

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Mr Bryant said: “There is a recognised need in north Norfolk to provide more advice and support to people who have been affected by drugs. Apart from some mobile units we just do not have sufficient resources to get enough help out there.

“It is a bit of blow that we cannot go ahead with our drop-in centre in Tucker Street. But I suppose it is just one of those things.

“But we will keep on looking for alternative locations, because at the end of the day people need help and they are not going to go away.”

Anyone who needs advice on drug and alcohol abuse can call the Matthew Project on 01603 764754, email support@matthewproject.org or log onto www.matthewproject.co.uk