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From the brink… to The Brink

9 June 2015
The team at The Brink

The team at The Brink

In May 2015, our Chief Executive Dawn Austwick visited The Brink in Liverpool, an innovative social enterprise with a difference. The Brink isn’t just any cafe or bar serving up food and drink: it is one of the first ‘dry bar’ venues in the UK, serving up opportunity and change for those on a journey of recovery. Over 50% of those who work there are in recovery themselves and 60% of their income is generated from revenue. They received a £298,543 Big Lottery Fund grant recently to help them continue their work enriching people’s lives.

Catherine, who started as a volunteer with The Brink shares her story, reflecting on how she took the lead in her life with their support.

I came into The Brink for the very first time in October 2012. I was looking for help and support with addiction and I was directed there by staff from Community Recovery Merseyside.

The Brink became a safe place to meet other like minded people and I felt safe there because it is a ‘dry bar’ and the majority of the people I met were free from drink and drugs, which is exactly what I needed. I went along initially just attending different activities at The Brink, including Sunday night film club, music events, education courses and health and fitness activities. After a while though, when the time felt right, I sought help from the Recovery Aspirational Project (RAP) which helps people in Recovery. The only requirement for people needing to access all of these services is that they are in Recovery or looking to become abstinent.

The Brink also provided me with training on how to improve my employment prospects, through CV writing tips and interview guidance. It was because of this support that I gained a part-time employment as a Brink liaison and administration worker. I feel very lucky to have found a place where I can find peace in the middle of this bustling city. I am very proud to now be a member of staff and in a position now to help others. It was lovely for Dawn (Austwick) to come and visit us at The Brink and get a chance to meet some of the people who benefit from Big Lottery Fund support, face to face. To sit around the table and to hear the stories of people who have been helped was amazing.

Since Dawn’s visit, I have now become a full-time Admissions Reintegration and Volunteer worker for Community Recovery Merseyside, and I now direct people to The Brink myself. Our hope is to go from strength to strength into the future so that more and more people who have suffered with addiction can find connection and understanding in The Brink and we can help more people who need the support to take control of their lives.

Assembled group holding up booklets at the Brink

Happy faces at The Brink

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