Dorset County Council has won funding amounting to £620,000 from Public Health England to buy and re-develop a property in Weymouth to help ensure local people suffering harm from the misuse of alcohol or other drugs receive the support they need.
The aim is to develop a hub for people recovering from substance misuse, helping them back in to a normal life by providing therapy rooms, education, training and employment opportunities. The centre will be carefully managed by an on-site staff team of experienced professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Up to six people will be able to stay overnight for short periods of around a week, while they undergo detox from alcohol or other drugs, or access any courses being run there.
Cllr Mike Byatt, Dorset County Council ward member for Weymouth Town, said:
“I am delighted that we have secured such a significant amount of funding to support local people struggling with their use of alcohol or other drugs. This facility should be an excellent and positive community resource, offering a space for treatment services and other community organisations to work from, and reducing the cost to the public purse.”
The council is in the process of purchasing 22 Abbotsbury Road (currently Basil Towers B&B) in Weymouth, and will be submitting a planning application for a change of use of the building from C1 Hotels to C2 Residential Institutions.
Cllr Christine James, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s briefholder for social inclusion, said:
“By helping people recover from substance misuse, this initiative will benefit not only the individuals who access the Hub directly, but the wider community by helping to make Weymouth a healthier and safer place. I know that a lot of work is going into making the facility a well-managed service that will be a credit to the borough.”
Subject to planning permission, local charity Essential Drugs and Alcohol Services (EDAS) will be managing the hub. Drew Caldwell, Dorset manager for EDAS, added:
“We’re really pleased to have helped to secure this funding for Dorset, and Weymouth in particular. We’ve already worked closely with other organisations – including the Police – to make sure this facility is in the right place and designed in the right way. That’s why we’ve committed to staffing the hub 24 hours a day, seven days a week, once it’s open.
“We’re keen to involve the local community in the design and coordination process of the hub, so please get in touch with us if you have any thoughts or concerns. We’ll be holding a meeting for local residents to meet with service users, staff and local councillors to make sure views are taken into account as we put this project into action.”
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, concluded:
“This new service has the potential to reduce crime and will provide appropriate support to those who need it. We know there are links between drug and alcohol misuse and offending behaviour. The Recovery Hub will provide people who are vulnerable with the treatment and guidance they need to become fully integrated, valued members of their communities.
“They will benefit from a wraparound service where resources and professionals will be co-ordinated and accessible, aiding the recovery process. I look forward to seeing the initiative progress further.”