There are very few occasions that a Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Russell Brand and Iain Duncan Smith would all agree on something. However the work that 1NE is doing in helping addicts rebuild their lives is inspiring. It is all the more reason that everyone needs to be aware of their threat of closure and need of funds to continue their work. I was invited to meet with the staff and recovering addicts to learn more.
Meeting the staff and recovering addicts at 1NE, you get the strong sense of a community centre rather a medical facility. There is a familial feel to the place, which has artwork and thank you notes of recovering addicts on the walls. I was invited to meet with a group of addicts who wanted to talk about their experiences from 1NE.
The group was more diverse than I had expected. That made me realize some of my own assumptions about substance abuse are oversimplified. Talking to the group, I learnt that the focus of 1NE is not to deal with the problem of addiction, but the reasons why a person needs to be addicted to a substance. They focus on the root causes of the habit, not the habit itself. This is dealt with through a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy, group sessions, one-on-one counseling and a focus on abstinence-only rehabilitation. For many of these people, they saw this as their last chance. The most important thing for them was the substance-free environment (that other facilities can’t provide) and most of all, how many previous visitors are still involved with the facility, and give them a greater sense of hope.
Due to continued cuts, public funding is being withdrawn, leaving a yearly financial hole of £160,000. Staff have committed to ensure that while they can raise around £80,000 themselves, a further £80,000 will be needed each year. 1NE featured in national news, as both Russell Brand (a recovering substance abuse addict) and Iain Duncan Smith have supported the facility. I’d encourage all of you to learn more about the 1NE, and provide support in anyway you can. You can find more out at www.1ne.org.uk.