New £1m ‘Recovery Central’ will make Birmingham the recovery capital of the UK


Passionate about recovery: Steve Dixon, CEO of Changes UK, the charity behind the new £1m recovery centre

Changes UK, a charity and community interest company founded less than ten years ago, is well on the way to realising its ambitious vision of making Birmingham the capital for recovery from addiction.

Changes UK has successfully developed and secured Public Health England funding for Recovery Central, a new £1m, 50,000 sq ft centre in Digbeth to help people recovering from drugs and alcohol addiction rebuild their lives.

It will be one of the largest venues of its kind ever built in the UK, offering a one-stop shop for the recovery community, including a new café/restaurant, the city’s first dry bar, business incubation space and a multi-purpose conference centre.

The centre will house three social enterprises started by people who have been supported by the charity, a gardening business, building company, a state-of-the-art recording studio and a recovery radio station, not to mention hosting the organisation’s 31-strong team. The revenue generated through the different activities will be channelled into the work of the charity, whose aim is to become fully self-financing while continuing to support more than 200 people every year to overcome their addictions.

“This is a massive milestone in our nine-year history and will help us deliver our sector-leading support to even more people,” says founder Steven Dixon, who overcame a 15-year addiction to alcohol and drugs to establish Changes UK.

“Our service works,” he says, “because it is led by people who have been in similar situations and come through them. We focus not just on tackling the problems, but also on giving individuals support and opportunities once they are in recovery.”

The vast majority of Changes UK clients (78%) stay clean and build new lives, an impressive success rate when set against the national average for such services of just 8%. “Success is all about connection, empowerment and raising aspirations by giving people access to training, volunteering and employment,” says Dixon.

Changes UK provides a detox service, residential and community based rehabilitation, supported and move on recovery housing and opportunities to gain qualifications or vital work experience. Service users at the beginning of their recovery journey are supported 24-hours a day by qualified staff and specially trained peer mentors, with the next step being to embark on the eight-week Recovery Academy.

The official opening of Recovery Central will take place on May 13th at 9.30am, with Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at Public Health England giving a keynote address. This will be followed by a show of support from a number of celebrities, inspirational stories of recovery from Changes service users, followed by a guided tour of the building and the chance to meet founder Steve Dixon.

To attend send mail to the events team.

Follow on Twitter: @changes_charity

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website
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