Posts

We’re excited to announce that Kennedy St has been granted charitable status and Kennedy St Foundation is now registered as a charity with the Charity Commission. WHOOP WHOOP!

The transformation

Since Kennedy St launched seven years ago as a CIC (a community interest company, limited by guarantee), we’ve been piloting ideas and projects to understand what is most needed to support the addiction recovery community. As a CIC – a business for good – the profits generated through Clare’s work with private organisations and business professionals, combined with funds from various fund sources (National Lottery, Safer Communities Fund, Sussex Community Foundation), were used to fund a variety of much needed community projects.

After careful monitoring and evaluation of our projects over the years, including the work we’ve done with the corporate sector, we are now more informed and aware of where we can best assist within the community. So, we’re transitioning into a fully-fledged charity (a CIO), with a charitable purpose. Kennedy St Foundation (known as Kennedy St CIO) is for individuals, families and businesses with substance misuse and addiction issues, and those suffering with poor mental health, who are interested in recovery.

Our vision

Our beliefs and vision haven’t changed. We believe everyone has a right to realise their full potential, and to have the opportunity to live free of social exclusion because of addiction or poor mental health. We are working to create a sustainable, visible recovery community that promotes inclusiveness and combats stigma through community integration.

How will we achieve our vision?

We believe that through coaching, training and education, delivered at local level to meet the diverse needs of the community, we can create a sustainable, visible recovery community in which families and individuals have the opportunity to thrive.

We will provide access to one-to-one coaching and guidance to a support network of peers and professional services. We will host inspirational talks and events delivered by people who have suffered with mental health issues and recovered from addiction. We will provide group workshops and support to enable people in recovery to move into volunteering, self-employment or to start social enterprises.

How will the charity be funded?

As a charity, Kennedy St CIO will be dependent on grants, donations and fundraising. And – more exciting news – to kick start our fundraising we’ve been awarded £10,000 National Lottery funding to ensure our programme of support is available to all who need it, particularly during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s exciting times for us, there’s still much work to be done and we would greatly appreciate your support. For more information on fundraising and how you can donate click here.
We will keep you updated with our progress…

My name is Kenny and I am an addict in recovery.

My childhood was an unstable mix of living with family and in foster care. I started to experience homelessness and social exclusion from my teen years and first went in to rehab in my mid-20s.

I have experienced long periods of sobriety, during which I would manage to build my life up. I got married and had kids, found full time employment and new career paths, and even bought a house. However, none of these things stopped me from starting to drink and use drugs again, and my life would come crashing down around me (again).

I simply could not live life on life’s terms. I wanted to escape the reality of just ‘being me’.

I knew I was an addict, but I never understood what it ‘meant’ to be an addict. I thought it was about taking drugs, but it wasn’t. It was about my inability to endure being clean and sober.

It wasn’t until I started attending Cocaine Anonymous meetings (on the back of destroying my life, again) that I
began to understand the true nature of my condition and started to truly recover. The 12-Step Programme showed me the way to live my life, successfully, that I have always wanted. It’s not for quitters: it’s for people who try, try and try, and can’t quit! It’s for people who had difficulty living before they used. People like me.

The days of being ashamed about addiction and recovery are over. It’s all about honesty.

I now work as a registered Mental Health Nurse; I am a productive member of society and I still attend regular meetings. I have also started to work with the Nursing & Midwifery Committee to help deal with nurses returning to the profession who have, or are, experiencing personal problems themselves.

Cocaine Anonymous has given me my children back, my life, my career and my relationships. Most of all though, it’s given me a way of life that means, one day at a time, I never ever have to use again.

If you’ve been effected by Kenny’s story and would like to speak to one of our recovery connector volunteers call 01273 758561 or email clare@kennedystreetcio.org. Or click here for a list of recovery fellowships.

Whether you’re new to addiction recovery or have been on your recovery journey for a number of years, the current lockdown in place due to Covid-19 and the uncertainty of what lies ahead is inevitably causing unwanted anxiety. Don’t let the situation interfere with your recovery.

Below are some tips from the Kennedy St team to help you navigate your recovery journey and manage addiction recovery during Covid-19 and these challenging times.

Keep connected.

At times like these, if you have an addiction issue, having the right support is not only vital, it can be lifesaving.
There is often a tendency to self-isolate when you have an addiction problem. With the temporary closure of local services and lockdown restrictions in place this can feel like the easiest option. However, it’s essential that you make contact with a recovery community and of paramount importance to seek medical support if necessary.

Don’t worry about technology – if you haven’t worked out the wonders of Zoom, or can’t fathom WhatsApp, recovery support is just a phone call away.

There is an abundance of recovery fellowships in our communities that are run freely by volunteers with a lived experience of recovery. They are ready and waiting to connect you to their online meeting platforms that are up and running every hour of every day. If taking this step seems rather daunting, and you’re unsure which group could help you, the Kennedy St team of recovery connectors are also on hand for a confidential chat or online guidance to find the best fit for you.

Wherever you are on your recovery journey, it is so important to realise that you’re not in this alone.

Take control of your day.

Staying focused, motivated and busy can be difficult when your normal routine has been upset. It’s easy to give up and give into boredom, to return to unhealthy coping mechanisms and withdraw within yourself.

We would suggest when you wake up to take a couple of moments and identify a recovery focused intention for the day. Start simply: ask someone about recovery support. At Kennedy St, as a team we use the mantra ‘Think, Believe, Become’.

Bring some structure to your day by scheduling times to get up and go to bed. It doesn’t need to be a rigid hour-by-hour agenda, but simply a revised, adapted routine to give you a sense of purpose. Making a small list of achievable goals works for some people, and it can be rewarding to tick off items as you go.

Take care of yourself.

One activity many of the Kennedy St team have found beneficial, especially when feeling overwhelmed with a racing head, is mindfulness. You don’t need to be a yogi, or religious, or even particularly spiritual. It doesn’t have to involve sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed until your legs go numb. It’s simply about taking a few moments to reconnect with yourself in the here and now. There are a few free mindfulness apps available: Headspace is one that our volunteers find helpful.

If this doesn’t sound like your thing, even just sitting quietly at a window or on your back step, picking out something beautiful to look at, listening to the birds, or focusing on your breathing for a couple of minutes can have a calming effect. Take time to slow down for a few moments every day and connect to the beauty that is around you: small actions can bring positive change.

Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health, reduce anxiety levels and combat depression. The lockdown rules permit going outside to take exercise. If you feel comfortable, leaving the house for a walk, a jog or a bike ride in the fresh air will work wonders. It doesn’t need to be intense activity to help you feel good. Eating well is equally important. It may be tricky to find some ingredients – flour is still in short supply – but try to focus on eating nourishing, nutritious meals.

If you’re interested in recovery and would like to speak to one of our recovery connector volunteers call 01273 758561 or email clare@kennedystreetcio.org. Or click here for a list of recovery fellowships.

Remember this pandemic and the lockdown rules will not last forever.
Have hope. Stay well. Stay positive.