Marathon man’s running to help vulnerable people access rehab services

published on 13 May 2017

A former drug-user, who now helps others overcome their substance misuse, is running the London Marathon to allow homeless and vulnerable men with addictions to get a place in a Salvation Army recovery centre.  

Andy, a support worker at Gloucester House treatment centre, hits the streets of London on 23 April in aid of the Buy a Bed scheme; which pays for men experiencing homelessness and addiction to reside there for between 12 and 24 weeks.

Run by The Salvation Army, Gloucester House in Highworth, near Swindon treats addictions through a range of therapeutic interventions– including group therapy and one-to-one counselling, occupational therapy and education – with the aim of helping its clients find a permanent way out of addictive behaviour.

Most men arrive at Gloucester House having been referred and paid for by a statutory body; such as their local authority, the criminal justice system or the social services; or by their own family members. But a small number who don’t have access to funding are there thanks to the Buy a Bed fund.

Buy a Bed is run entirely on public donations and has so far helped over 30 men experiencing homelessness to successfully address their issues, before moving onto sustainable, independent living. Gloucester House support worker, Andy was once a resident there himself and is now running the London Marathon for Buy a Bed; along with other Salvation Army staff and volunteers.

He says; “What we do at Gloucester House is really special and the Buy a Bed project provides guys with an opportunity to get into recovery through Gloucester House as a platform to move on in their lives.

“We help people who can’t get funding and also people who are really desperate and need somewhere quickly. The money that’s donated has come from so many different people and organisations connected with Gloucester House over the years and we’re so grateful.

“It’s a real privilege to be able to raise money for Buy a Bed by running the Marathon with other Salvation Army guys and I’m so looking forward to it."