Matthew Project charity to open new Norwich hub to support adults with drug and alcohol problems

Paul Martin, chief executive of the Matthew Project.

Paul Martin, chief executive of the Matthew Project. - Credit: Archant

A city hub to help adults with alcohol and drug abuse problems get their lives back on track could be open next year.

The Matthew Project, which started 33 years ago, already supports 14,000 young people, adults and armed forces veterans directly and indirectly affected by drug and alcohol misuse across Norfolk and Suffolk each year.

And now the charity hopes to open a Norwich Recovery Hub to do more targeted work on getting people over 18 - particularly under-represented groups who require more support for alcohol and drug issues - back into work and healthier lives.

These include women, older people, working age people, young adults, armed forces veterans and those in rural areas.

Matthew Project staff are looking for a building after receiving £595,000 from Public Health England and chief executive Paul Martin hopes the hub can open early next year.


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Mr Martin said some statutory services for people with drug and alcohol problems in Norfolk were 'hit and miss' and the aim of the hub was to tackle this.

Matthew Project staff and volunteers at the base will work with other organisations; give healthy living tips and work opportunities; and provide a social network for drug and alcohol abuse sufferers and their families.

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Mr Martin said: 'It needs to be a safe place where you can build up a social group and turn skills into work.

'We know that if you have a long-term alcohol or drug problem you lose contact with your family and start to feel isolated. 'An alcohol problem can be a big reason why people lose a job or you might have been young when you developed the issue so you need a second chance for education.

'People need to be able to have a normal life, that is why we are bringing the hub to Norfolk.'

Mr Martin added: 'We hope the hub becomes a long-term asset for Norfolk. Doing this gives people the chance to do things many of us take for granted and gives them core skills to help them move on with their lives.'

Volunteer mentors who have recovered from alcohol or drug issues will provide support at the hub which will be open to anyone seven-days-a-week.

The Matthew Project hopes to run a minibus service to and from the hub and potentially expand the hub idea across Norfolk.

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