Sheffield Lifehouse event celebrates National Recovery Month

published on 6 Oct 2022

National Recovery Month in Sheffield
Charter Row Lifehouse manager Andy Parkinson (l) with guests marking National Recovery Month

A celebration to show support for people who have overcome addiction was hosted by The Salvation Army to mark the end of National Recovery Month.

The event was organised by The Salvation Army’s Charter Row Lifehouse (supported accommodation for people who are homeless) in partnership with Kickback Recovery, a Sheffield based charity supporting people suffering with mental health, substance and alcohol issues, and their families.

Chaired by journalist and former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Andy Kershaw, guests were shown a moving video of people sharing stories of their recovery, heard from representatives working in the field of addiction and artists including recovery poet Stuart Saved.

Andy Parkinson, service manager at The Salvation Army’s Charter Row Lifehouse, which houses up 57 single men and Lincoln Court, which houses 11 women in the city, said: “We’ve come together to mark the end of National Recovery Month which celebrates people overcoming addiction, the importance and power of recovery, thanks those who work in the field and raises awareness of the work that goes on across the city. 

Andy Parkinson and Tracey Ford National Recovery Month in Sheffield
Tracey Ford and Andy Parkinson

“It’s a really positive event which gives us the chance to promote our work supporting recovery across Sheffield – whether it be through lifehouses or through the Core Recovery Church we run with our partners in the Church Army and Methodist Church. If we are to end homelessness, we know that tackling issues that lead to people becoming homeless in the first place, including addiction, is vital. Part of that is reducing the stigma surrounding addiction by hosting events like this, telling stories and making recovery more visible.”

Paul Huggins, Chaplain for the Sheffield Lifehouses, who is also part of The Salvation Army’s Core Recovery team, which is part of the church and charity’s Mission Service to help people in recovery explore their spiritual relationship with God, said: “Working in recovery, I see that there is potential in everybody. To see people come through addiction, into recovery and keep walking that recovery journey, you see how much hope it gives to other people. I believe we all masterpieces, made in God’s image, a one-off piece of art and you get to see that with people in recovery, who they are and not the addiction.”

Representatives from Shelter, Sheffield City Council, Chocolate Box (Christian Community for Vulnerable Women), Project 6 (Alcohol Recovery Community), Street Pastors and many more attended the event at The Salvation Army’s Sheffield Citadel church. Guests included the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, the Deputy Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. 

To see people come through addiction, into recovery and keep walking that recovery journey, you see how much hope it gives to other people.
Chaplain Paul Huggins

Lt Col Mac McPherson MBE, the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, described the event as ‘massively uplifting’. He said: “The video we saw of people who are in recovery was moving and it’s a powerful message for me take to back those who I meet who are struggling – that I’ve met inspirational people who have all broken that challenge.”

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Cllr Sioned-Mair Richards, spoke of her own struggle with post-natal depression. She said: “It’s important to recognise those who are in recovery and to realise that all of us are going through something, for me it was postnatal depression. Today showed us people are so resilient and often they don’t recognise their own resilience. Recovery is something we do every day, it doesn’t stop.”

Andy Kershaw Sheffield National Recovery Month
Former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Andy Kershaw chairs the event

Tracey Ford, Operations and Development Manager - Community Safety Partnership at Sheffield City Council, who co-ordinates the Sheffield Recovery Forum, spoke of the importance of working closely with The Salvation Army’s Lifehouses to help tackle addiction.

She said: “The Salvation Army is a commissioned accommodation provider so do not have to come to our Recovery Forum, but they do because they know how important engagement is to help their residents. The Salvation Army is not just providing a roof, they are able to help people off the streets and move into a more positive lifestyle. There have been Lifehouse residents who have been in recovery, have gone on to volunteer with organisations working with us and are now in paid roles. We want to see more of that.”

Mick Hartley, who battled his own addictions then set up Kickback Recovery, a charity helping those with substance misuse issues, which works closely with residents and the Lifehouses, added: “I want to thank The Salvation Army for hosting this. It’s the chance to celebrate visual recovery, our passion, and show the world recovery is possible and that anybody can recover. We’re really grateful for the collaboration and long may that continue.”

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