Changing Lives is part of the North Tyneside Recovery Partnership (NTRP). NTRP is a dedicated service for anyone in North Tyneside experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol. Service Manager Jan Mallaburn talks about the project's first Hope and Remembrance Service, dedicated to those in the recovery community who have passed away.

This year we held North Tyneside’s first Hope and Remembrance service on November 2nd at St Lukes Church in Wallsend, dedicated to loved ones in our community who have died through drug and alcohol addiction.

Following consultation with the people who access our service at the North Tyneside Recovery Partnership, it was decided that expression through art would be the theme. We teamed up with Simon Turner, who kindly displayed his art in the church (and offered to donate his displayed art work to any of the service users attending) alongside art produced from the people who use our services and the local Community Art Group from Meadowell Connected.

Changing Lives staff (l-r): Aaron, Julie, Andrea, Jan, Angela and Kelly

It was an emotional and uplifting day, and over 40 people attended the service. Some amazing pieces of art were displayed, and we had a talk from the artists themselves. People offered to share their experiences – one of whom gave an emotional account of her life in front of her children for the first time. Father Andre delivered a very moving service, sharing his own experiences of losing friends through addiction from his time working in Harm Minimisation services. All who attended were given the opportunity to light a candle for their loved ones and given time to reflect and remember through prayer.

The day ended with a shared buffet and a chance to engage in social conversation with everyone at the event. The feedback has been amazing and clients already wanting to plan for next year.

The day couldn’t have happened without the amazing support of Father Andre who opened his church and church hall for the event to go on and worked alongside the Changing Lives team to ensure everything went so well.

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