Plans to turn part of Breckland offices in Thetford into drugs and alcohol rehab service

A disused part of a council office could be turned into a place to offer people with drug and alcohol problems help and support.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust wants to use 10 rooms at Breckland Council's offices in Thetford for the Norfolk Recovery Partnership, a new joint initiative between the trust, the Matthew Project and the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt).

The ground floor of the St Nicholas Street building, which is currently vacant after the council's children's services moved to Dereham, will be used to provide the new treatment and recovery service, offering high quality, easily accessible help for people with drugs and alcohol issues.

It is estimated that about 150 to 200 people will be using the service each month.

As part of the change of use planning application lodged with Breckland Council, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has asked for permission to create a cafe area with access to drinks for service users to drop in and meet volunteers and befrienders in a safe and welcoming environment. The new scheme is set to run from April 1.

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A Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: 'The new service is firmly focused on patient-centred recovery and in order for that to happen, patients need to take charge of their own recovery and they need places they can easily access treatment.

'At the moment, if someone lives in Thetford, they have to access the service in Norwich and that's quite a journey. So with this new service, what we are trying to do is make the service more easily accessible.'

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The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is leasing the rooms from Breckland Council.

The new service is set to be offered across Norfolk and will see some existing buildings used. The Matthew Project has a group in Cromer at The Junction which will continue and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation already has bases in Great Yarmouth, Hellesdon Hospital and in Norwich's Golden Triangle.

Other new ones which are set to open will be in North Walsham and King's Lynn.

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