A sports-based programme is being delivered by the Chesterfield FC Community Trust to help former substance abusers with their recovery.
Called ‘A Spire Right’, the project is being held in The HUB at the Proact Stadium three times a week, from 9.30am to 1pm, over eight weeks. It is completely free and participants also receive a free bus pass to cover their travel, together with a Chesterfield FC tracksuit.
The sessions are a mixture of theory and sports and are aimed at boosting former addicts’ mental and physical wellbeing while providing them with new coping strategies.
The Community Trust’s Keith Jackson is delighted with the way the programme is shaping up. He said: “I have never been part of something so structured and so involved. It addresses the daily battle of former addicts and creates a realistic routine for people, providing them with a support network and decreasing that chance of relapsing.
“They have a classroom in the stadium, which they clean and look after and they make cups of tea in the morning. It is giving them a routine, a responsibility and something to be proud of. Coaching and participants wear the same club tracksuit, so we are all in this together. It gives them a sense of pride; they are proud of the classroom and proud to wear the club badge.
“The sessions also include aftercare, a gym membership that continues for three months after the programme finishes and opportunities to work around the club, whether it is gardening or gaining the qualifications to become a steward on match days.”
Shane, 47, who is one of the participants, praised the initiative. “It is about finding new escapes once you have recovered,” he said. “Four or five years ago there was nothing like this. Everywhere would work on the beginning part but then there would be no aftercare and that is where the recovery really starts. Here we get those opportunities.
“What is amazing for me is that I can finally look my family and friends in the eye when they ask how I am doing or if I am clean. I don’t have to lie anymore. I can actually look them in the eye and say, ‘Yeah, yeah, I'm doing just fine’. More importantly, I can stop lying to myself about it. I can finally be honest with myself about being clean and being okay.”
Leo, 32, also spoke in glowing terms about the programme. He said: “I got an email about it which featured the club logo and I didn’t think it was real because it sounded too good to be true. I can be quite restless, so a lot of classroom work could cause some issues as I may need to move about or talk too much, whereas this breaks it up.”
Gill Quayle, who works with Derbyshire County Council on their substance support schemes, urged people to grab the opportunity available to them. She said: “The combination is really useful because you can learn about different things for your health, listen to the brilliant speakers they have and then you can get some exercise.
“You will have a really full day and meet some new people, which then reduces the isolation, because sometimes you can feel on your own. You don’t realise that other people are going through what you are going through, but the truth is they are.”
If you are interested in the programme, please phone 01246 264030, email email@example.com or visit www.spireitestrust.org.uk for more information.