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A service that helps people on Teesside recover from substance misuse and mental health issues is launching a new community project thanks to funding of £2,220 from UK Steel Enterprise. 

TRAC UK, based in Middlesbrough, is using the money from UKSE’s Community Support Fund to start a pilot outreach project that involves recovery in the community based at two houses made available to them. For an initial six months two full time staff will be able to support between eight and 12 people then, hopefully, the project will expand with additional staff and properties.

Support will also come from a volunteer social psychologist and some of TRAC’s volunteer advocates to ensure each person is given an individually tailored recovery plan.

“Working in the community means that we can work intensively with clients to identify their needs,” said Project Administrator Brian Hutchinson. “Support can range from assistance to get to appointments to group support and one- to-one sessions that help them get to the bottom of their problems, gain a better understanding of their illness and take steps towards recovery.”

Director Annalice Sibley founded TRAC UK, a community interest company that provides an independent advocacy service for people with drug or alcohol misuse and mental health issues, in 2015. It helps with anything from housing issues, appeals and getting to medical and other appointments to counselling. It runs a women-only online Facebook recovery service and takes support out on to the streets of Middlesbrough.

“We have a great team of workers and volunteers here,” said Annalice, “and were thrilled to hear that UK Steel Enterprise had agreed to help us with this new project.

“There is a big gap for this type of model as it can be easy for people to fall back into old habits if they need to go out of their area to a rehabilitation facility. Clients have told us that being in their local community during recovery would really benefit them.

“Many are experiencing extreme isolation from mainstream society and need help to access services and work towards recovery and an independent existence,” she added.

Peter Taylor of UK Steel Enterprise said: “UKSE is about supporting businesses with finance and premises but our special Community Support Fund is there to support projects run by a range of organisations that help to improve the quality of daily life for people living in our steel areas.”

PICTURE CAPTION: Peter Taylor (right) of funder UK Steel Enterprise with Annalice Sibley and Brian Hutchinson at TRAC (UK).