Ipswich: Football helps former drug addicts kick their habits

A DRUG rehabilitation centre is using the power of the beautiful game to help addicts overcome their vices.

The Open Road charity, based in Princes Street, Ipswich, offers advice and support to those affected by illegal substances and alcohol.

To help clients gain confidence in the community, the centre’s manager Nick Allard set up a five-a-side football team.

The squad, made up of service users, Red Rose Chain representatives and staff from Open Road, was created as part of a joint initiative between the service and Ipswich theatre company Red Rose Chain.

There are three Open Road centres in Suffolk, all offering drug treatments to those tackling addictions.

Mr Allard said: “Across our centres in Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds we try to create programmes which reflect services users’ interests.

“In Ipswich we have a group that go to the Ipswich Community Garden to carry out gardening projects.

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“We also have a great partnership with the Red Rose Chain and we run media workshops with them which are extremely popular. It was from there that some people expressed an interest in starting a football team. We decided to take it on and it has been a great success.”

The team plays at the Goals Soccer Centre off Grimwade Street every Tuesday.

“For someone who has an addiction you seem to lose grip on normal life so it is things like this which encourage the service users to get back into the community. At the same time we are trying to teach them more about the importance of health and wellbeing.”

To find out more about the services offered by Open Road, visit www.openroad.org.uk