A NEW peer-led support group focusing on helping people with addiction and recovery is going from strength to strength in Atherton.

The group which runs every Monday 10am – 12noon at the Salvation Army on George Street, Atherton, has been running since January to offer a vital outlet to to those struggling in the community.

The hub, where everyone is welcome, gives people a chance to have an informal chat and a drink and something to eat or play a friendly game of pool.

The second hour of the sessions then leads to a peer-led group support which offers a safe space to discuss the ups and downs of recovery, addiction, or mental health, with people who have been in similar situations and understand their struggles.

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Leigh Journal: The sessions offer a safe space to talk about addiction, recovery, and mental healthThe sessions offer a safe space to talk about addiction, recovery, and mental health (Image: Paul Blinkhorn)
Louise Westhead established the group with the support of The Salvation Army Atherton and the 'We Are With You' addiction rehabilitation centre after her own recovery journey and sees the hub as an opportunity to give back.

Louise said: "The group is more of a listening ear and the fact that we know how they feel makes it completely confidential and anything goes. They can say whatever they want without shame or judgement as we have all been there ourselves.”

“Addiction doesn’t have to be a never-ending nightmare. You never get over addiction: you live with it.”

Leigh Journal: Attendees can enjoy a game of pool or table football to relaxAttendees can enjoy a game of pool or table football to relax (Image: Paul Blinkhorn)
Paul Blinkhorn, who volunteers at the recovery hub added: “Something like this has been needed here for a very long time. It just goes to show what’s possible if you get the right people in the room and they’re determined to make something happen”.

The recovery hub has been supported by Labour councillors in Atherton South and Lilford, Lee McStein, Debra Wailes and John Harding, as well as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Leigh and Atherton Jo Platt.

Speaking about the hub, Cllr McStein said: "From the very first day when I came in January it’s been clear that these regular Monday sessions are having a huge positive impact on the lives of people across Atherton, and the surrounding area, and the demand is growing."

Jo Platt added: “It’s great to see the Atherton Recovery Hub doing so much good for the local community. It’s such a warm and inviting space too, and a much-needed addition to support services locally.”

Leigh Journal: Local residents attending at the recovery hubLocal residents attending at the recovery hub (Image: Paul Blinkhorn)
More information can be found on the Atherton Salvation Army Facebook page, or by calling 01942 888382 or 07551 572186.