'Make recovery visible': Addiction recovery hub launches in Ilford

Left to right: Paul Mubu, operations manager, Andy Hardwick, commissioner; Syed Tohel Ahmed, service manager.

Left to right: Paul Mubu, operations manager; Andy Hardwick, commissioner for substance misuse at Redbridge Council; Syed Tohel Ahmed, service manager. - Credit: Daniel Gayne

Redbridge’s drug and alcohol recovery service held an event last week to mark the launch of the Redbridge Recovery Hub. 

Staff and service users gathered in the new space in Ilford Chambers on Thursday, September 30, to hear about the plans for the facility and tell stories of addiction and recovery. 

The hub will begin providing services next week and aims to offer an all-day space for people who have completed detox and are looking to get their life back on track. 

The recovery hub is one component of the borough’s recovery service programme – known as R3 – which is commissioned by Redbridge Council and run by the Westminster Drug Project. 

One service user told the group: “If it wasn’t for R3 I would not be standing here right now.” 


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He recalled how he had relapsed after seven years sober and how R3 had supported him. 

The service got him into rehab after he got to the point where he could “barely cross the road to get to the centre”. 

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Other services users spoke of the loneliness and difficulty to cope with ordinary routine after recovery from addiction.

Andy Hardwick, senior integrated strategic commissioner for substance misuse at Redbridge Council, felt that the testimony of service users was a “poignant reminder of what and why we do it”. 

“A big issue for people in recovery is filling the time in a meaningful way,” he said, adding that the hub would make sure people had plenty of social interaction. 

Mizan Chowdhury, team leader for the recovery hub, explained how a range of activities and services – including art clubs, meditation and acupuncture – would be offered at the hub as a way to help recovering addicts cope with life’s challenges without returning to substances. 

Service manager Syed Tohel Ahmed stressed that he hoped the centre would “make recovery visible”, not just to other recovering addicts but also to the wider community. 

He said that part of the hub’s programme was aimed at residents to help them come and understand addiction in order to break the stigma around it. 

Anyone who needs support related to drug and alcohol in Redbridge can contact 0300 303 4612 or self-refer online. via www.wdp.org.uk/redbridge.

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