Helping to provide a home - for people with no home

Michelle Foster, chief operating officer at the Basement Recovery Project, Halifax.
Michelle Foster, chief operating officer at the Basement Recovery Project, Halifax.
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It is two years since I last wrote to thank your readers for their support for The Basement Recovery Project, and much has changed in that time. Not least that we have celebrated our fifth birthday in 2013, something we never imagined when we started out in 2007 as a group advocating for people with drug and alcohol problems and homelessness issues.
Today we have a new home on Carlton Street, which is a Recovery and Community Hub offering a safe and supportive environment for those who wish to change their lives for the better. Today we continue to support those who are marginalised from society and show them that community does exist, which is especially important in these challenging times of reforms and austerity.
We continue to provide food and support to over 100 people per week through our Breakfast Clubs and our Recovery Services, and over the last 12 months we have seen an increase in the numbers of people coming through both services. Through the coming winter period, we will be home for people who have no home as we will be working with Churches Together to provide emergency hostel accommodation should people find themselves in need.
2013 has been a significant year in our ambitions to build bridges between the recovery community and the wider community. We have been fortunate to have ‘Basement Jive’ at the Recovery Hub, which has introduced people in recovery to dance, meeting a range of health and well-being needs and providing a social activity without the need for using alcohol or drugs. More importantly it has offered a bridge to the wider community and developed friendships amongst people who would not ordinarily have acknowledge each other. In all, it has been an amazing way to challenge stigma.
At this festive time, I would like to thank everyone who has supported the project and individuals throughout the year. The Basement Recovery Project ethos is one of ‘giving back’, and as our community has grown over the last five years, the list of supporters has become extensive, from Mrs McGinley and her family who fundraise for the project and have given 2 special presents to our breakfast club clients, to our people in recovery who have used the services then become volunteers and fundraisers themselves. I would also like to extend our thanks to the ladies, Danielle, Claire and Vikki who have organised our fundraisers for others such as ‘The Race for Life’ and Overgate Hospice, as well as for our own services and activities. We have also been fortunate to be supported by Sainsburys, Lloyds Banking Group, The Bearder Trust, The Christiandelphinian Chruch, Ziggys and, Al Fresco Catering, all of whom are now part of our community.
I would also like to thank the Halifax Courier who wrote a wonderful piece for the project earlier this year. We are fortunate that your paper and its readers have recognised that addiction and exclusion can affect anyone and everyone. People don’t have to think too hard to know that we all have someone in our extended family or work community who may need to support of services such as ours. In 2011, I wrote about ‘a society should measure its success on the way it treats its poorest’, and today I believe that the people in Calderdale have taken this on board. The Basement Recovery Project may have begun as a group who worked for the voices of the excluded to be heard, but today I am happy to say that we are being heard. Our final thanks therefore go to the statutory services, Calderdale MBC and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group who continue to support the project and help us to make the difference in people’s lives.
On Wednesday 18th December we held our annual Christmas Party and received a visit from Father Christmas who gave out gifts to the children from our recovery community. Today, these children will have a happier and safer Christmas because of all our collective support in making a difference to the lives of people with the illness of addiction. More significant though, these children will be the adults of tomorrow who we hope will have more prosperous, happy and healthier lives making Calderdale a better place to live.
The Basement Project would like to wish everyone a safe, peaceful and more prosperous New Year.

Michelle Foster

The Basement Recovery Project