Portsmouth hub helping recovering addicts thrown a lifeline

From left, Garrod Phillips, Jane Muir, Donna Carter, John Fraser and Mark Taylor of the Big Issue at the Recovery Cafe whi has been found a new base
From left, Garrod Phillips, Jane Muir, Donna Carter, John Fraser and Mark Taylor of the Big Issue at the Recovery Cafe whi has been found a new base

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A DROP-IN centre which helps recovering drug and alcohol addicts to stay clean has been given a stay of execution.

For months, the future of Portsmouth’s Recovery Café had been in jeopardy after an eviction notice was served on the group.

I am delighted the council has been able to help us find this temporary new home so we can keep providing our support to the community

Jane Muir, Recovery Café’s founder

Bosses had been told to leave their former base in Kingston Road, Buckland – a place it had called home for three years – by the beginning of February.

But now Portsmouth City Council has stepped in and agreed to lease the café a new site in Fratton Road, Fratton, for free.

The move has secured the vital service’s place in the city for at least six months.

This means café bosses will have more time to find a permanent home or arrange a longer agreement on the site.

One option on the cards is that, instead of paying rent, the café would be responsible for making repairs to the building, an option it could find easier to achieve.

Jane Muir, Recovery Café’s founder, said this latest arrangement was a huge relief.

She said: ‘I am delighted the council has been able to help us find this temporary new home so we can keep providing our support to the community, and hopefully we can reach a more permanent agreement.’

She said the move will boost the café’s social enterprise projects and raise vital revenue.

The hub aims to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for repairs of its new base, in lieu of commercial rent fees.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of the city council, said: ‘It is great news that we have found this temporary solution for the Recovery Café and I hope it can become its permanent home.’

Recovery Café’s Kingston Road base has been bought by the council, with funding from Public Health England.

The building will now become a new base for charity the Society of St James, which will offer a range of substance abuse support services.

This would range from group sessions to one-to-one counselling, as well as peer-led advice workshops for those dealing with the early stages of addiction recovery.