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‘Golden opportunity’ to secure future of addiction charity Focus12 with sale of iconic headquarters in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 17:32 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:32 22 August 2017

Chief executiveTony Kimber outside of Focus12's 82 Risbygate Street home and its iconic green door. The building is going up for sale. Picture: MATT REASON

Chief executiveTony Kimber outside of Focus12's 82 Risbygate Street home and its iconic green door. The building is going up for sale. Picture: MATT REASON

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An addiction charity is hoping to secure its future for another 20 years after announcing the sale their iconic premises on Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds.

Focus12's 82 Risbygate Street home and its iconic green door. The building is going up for sale. Picture: MATT REASONFocus12's 82 Risbygate Street home and its iconic green door. The building is going up for sale. Picture: MATT REASON

The sale of Focus12 townhouse at 82 Risbygate Street, which with its iconic green door has been their home for 15 years, will clear £250,000 of debt, the majority of which is tied up in the mortgage.

The charity, founded by Chip Sommers 20 years ago, will be left with a significant reserve of funds and the ability to invest in their services.

Chief executive Tony Kimber said: “We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and what we want to do is make sure the great work that Chip started 20 years ago is still here in another 20 years.

“The great work that we do is not rooted in the building, it is rooted in the people we have and their dedication to treating addiction.”

He said the planned sale of the three-storey building is a “sensible business decision”, with the house not fit for the purpose they use it for.

“This will make a great home for someone, but it is not a great office and treatment centre,” he said. “It does not make business sense to be servicing a debt on a building we do not need.”

Focus12 currently have three rented properties, including next door to 82 Risbygate Street.

If the sale goes ahead, they hope to refurbish the site next door. They will not purchase a new building.

‘The green door is coming with us’

Business development manager Jamie Blyth, a recovering addict himself, said the townhouse’s iconic green door, which has come to symbolise recovery at Focus12, will be coming with them.

“When I came here to be treated, I had to get up and down three flights of stairs with a broken leg,” he said. “The building does not work for us.

“The green door is staying with us, you can be sure of that, but this is a golden opportunity to put us in a solid financial position.”

The treatment centre, which treats both fee-paying and charity-funded clients, has helped a raft of celebrities in its time, including Amy Winehouse, Russell Brand and Davina McCall.

The sale of their townhouse, which is hoped to fetch in the region of £450,000, will help the charity continue to treat 20% of clients free-of-charge, as charity placements. The charity has treated hundreds of people since it was founded.

Mr Kimber said clearing the debt will also help them raise funds from benefactors and investors. “It means we can be open and honest with them that any money they give to us will help treat people, not pay off debt,” he said.

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