Towards the end of last year I booked myself up for a cycling sportive - a 75 mile route from South Birmingham to the Cotswalds, and back, two big hills, at the start of March (a time of year not known for for its good weather) (www.madmarchharesportive.co.uk).
Until recently the furthest I'd cycled in one go was 30 miles, so some significant training was needed. Training has been hard work, not helped by winter weather and dark nights, but a lot of fun and I'm really enjoying it.
This is something I've wanted to do for a while, and I want to take the opportunity to ask some kind people to sponsor me to raise money for The Bridge...
But "What is The Bridge?" I hear you cry! In their own words...
When you’re addicted, life sucks. All you can think about is the thing you’re addicted to. Not ‘What am I going to eat?’ Not ‘Who am I going to hang out with?’ Just that thing. That thing and nothing else.
For nearly 300,000 people in the UK today that thing is drugs or alcohol. The Bridge is a supported housing project in Birmingham that helps men and women beat drug and alcohol addiction. They provide up to 12 men and 6 women with accommodation and a full-time addiction recovery programme that lasts up to 2 years. Their aims are to provide people with:
Home – a safe, supportive home environment that allows people to build their recovery
Recovery – a full-time programme that includes testing clinics, recovery groups and one-to-one support
Purpose – opportunities to develop new friendships and skills through training and voluntary work placements
The Bridge began in 1999 - just a small community of church-goers and friends who wanted to do something for the homeless community in our city. What started out as a weekly meal soon became a fully staffed homeless hostel. But there was a problem… People weren’t able to move on into their own homes because each time they took a positive step forward, drugs and alcohol would send them crashing back to square one. So The Bridge responded by starting a recovery programme…
The Bridge now receives over 60 referrals a year for places on its recovery programme. They have two six-bedroom recovery houses for men and one six-bedroom recovery house for women. Their small employed team of support workers and administrative staff are expertly overseen by service lead Jon Smith, who brings a wealth of experience from his 20 years in the addictions field. The Bridge consistently sees men and women deal with their drug and alcohol addiction and make huge positive changes to their lives.