13 December 2016

It’s all good in De Hood as Sheffield’s new recovery drop-in gives people with drug and alcohol problems a fighting chance of staying clean and sober.

The new Sheffield Recovery Community drop-in at De Hood opened its doors earlier this month, supporting those with drug and alcohol issues. As well as talking through problems and supporting each other, this drop-in packs a punch offering free boxing training and fitness classes to help people become more healthy and motivated to stay on the road to recovery.

The opening three weeks saw numbers rise from ten to 19 and now Mick Hartley, who runs the sessions, hopes to encourage more people to come along at the official opening on Thursday 15 December.

Mick was a Sheffield nightclub owner and his nightlife career led to a cocaine addiction that took hold for 11 years. After being in recovery for two-and-a-half years and clean for the last year, Mick has set up the drop-in to help others kick their addiction just like he did.

He said: “Addiction creeps in. At first it was just now and then and before I knew it I was using cocaine every day, I was dependent.

“Thankfully with the right help and changes to my lifestyle I’m now clean, but it’s an ongoing battle so support services are vital to help people like me and many others get and stay clean and sober.

“I wanted to give something back, help others to get through it, so I set up this group with help from the Council’s Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Team and South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Anyone is welcome here, whatever your demons. We just want people to take the first step and pop in to see us. Then we can take it week by week, support each other and get stronger.”

The Sheffield Recovery Community drop-in is based at De Hood on City Road, a centre run by professional boxer Reagan Denton, 38, who now works with young and old in the community, keeping them off the streets providing boxing training and fitness coaching.

Reagan said: “I’ve learned the hard way. I had it all at one stage, too much, too soon, and had my own struggle with addiction, but slowly I got my life back and turned back to my training. That’s what saved me.

“People don’t realise how much physical activity and exercise can help, but once you experience how good it makes you feel it’s a real motivator.

“We’ve got a great little team here and I always say team work makes a dream work. I hope people will come along to the drop-in, make the most of my classes and start their journey to recovery.”

Councillor Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council said: “We have a really strong recovery community in Sheffield and it’s great that they have been so proactive in setting up this new group to help more people in the city.

“Having the opportunity to take part in physical activity at the group is a huge bonus and I hope more people will come along and make this most of it.

“There are many support services available in Sheffield for people who want to overcome their addictions and I would urge them to get in touch and find out how we can help.”

Sheffield City Council’s Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) helped to secure the funding for the new group, which came from the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, who has so far given £2,500 to cover rent, refreshments and the cost of fitness classes.

Dr Alan Billings said: “This is the second time I have funded De Hood from my Community Grant Scheme. The previous funding was to help them get set up in the community with their boxing provision.

“I was pleased with the engagement work they are doing in the community and as such have funded them again, to set-up the community drop-in for those living with issues associated with drug and alcohol misuse. I hope this funding offers individuals looking for support, the opportunity to access the required services.”

The Sheffield Recovery Community group officially opens on Thursday 15 December, from 4 to 8pm, with refreshments, a boxercise fitness class at 5:30pm and open group session.

Regular group members will be there, along with Mick, Regan, staff from recovery support services in Sheffield and representatives from South Yorkshire Police.

The centre, which is at the old King Edwards School, City Road at Manor Top, Sheffield, is open every Thursday from 4pm to 8pm and people can drop in at any time throughout the session. The optional free fitness classes take place at 5.30pm.

Sheffield’s recovery community is always looking to reach out to new people and raise awareness of the help and support available in the city. People looking for help and support can find out more through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sheffieldrecoverycommunity/.

Support and treatment is available for anyone in Sheffield experiencing drug and alcohol issues, seven days a week. All services in Sheffield take self-referrals and are open access, meaning people can walk in and be seen that day.

Visit www.sheffielddact.org.uk or call 0114 273 6851 for information about the help on offer in Sheffield.