A new £1m centre has opened in Birmingham today with the promise of helping more than 300 people beat their addiction with drink and drugs every year.

Recovery Central, the brainchild of Changes UK, will make the city one of the most progressive locations in the country for ‘recovery’ and will house Friends café/restaurant, a dry bar, 100-seat conference venue and incubation space for services users looking to move into self-employment.

The 15,000 sq ft venue, which has been funded by Public Health England, also features a state-of-the-art recording studio, UK Recovery Radio and additional space to grow its services by almost a third.

It is an ambitious expansion plan for the organisation, but one that has already received widespread backing from the community, local authorities and a number of well-known celebrities, including Jimmy Somerville, Duran Duran’s John Taylor and Russell Brand.

“This is an important milestone in the Changes UK journey and one that potentially offers the ‘recovery’ blueprint for other cities to follow,” explained Steve Dixon, who founded the charity after 15 years of addiction.

“Recovery Central gives us an amazing venue that we can use to help more people in our city into recovery from addiction and gain the skills to live a life with meaning and purpose, so that they also can be an asset to our community rather than just a burden.”

He continued: “The revenue generated through our social enterprises and conference space will allow us to become completely self-funding, providing the platform we need continue to plug the needs of our community without the requirement to look for government funding or grants.

“This new building alone has created seven new jobs and, over the next twelve months, will support another 150 people in their recovery journey, taking the number of service users to 300.

“78% of the individuals we help stay clean (compared to the national average of 8%) and the main difference is down to our peer-led approach and focus on raising aspirations after the initial detox.”

More than 100 people were given a guided tour of Recovery Central as part of the official launch, which also included speeches from Adrian Phillips (Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council), Ed Davey (Senior Lecturer at The National Addiction Centre) and Rosanna O’Connor of Public Health England.

They also heard from Alex Davey and Colette Carter, who used the Changes UK ‘Recovery Academy’ to turn their lives around after many years addicted to drink and drugs.

Steve, who remortgaged his family home to start Changes UK in 2007, continued: “For each addict that stays clean it saves £50,000 every 12 months, so if we are helping 300 people at any one time we are potentially saving the city £15m.”

He went on to add: “Recent research undertaken also shows that for every £1 invested into our organisation we generate a positive social impact of £14.58. We fully expect this figure to increase even further with the addition of Recovery Central and you know the people who will be driving it…the clients that are on their recovery journey.

“We’ve got some fantastic stories of people entering employment, getting their families back, volunteering to support the homeless and even starting their own printing business and nail salon.”

Employing 31 people, Changes UK provides a detox service, community-based rehabilitation, supported and move on housing and opportunities to gain accredited qualifications, volunteering and work experience.

Service users at the beginning of their recovery journey are supported 24-hours a day by qualified staff and specially trained volunteer peer mentors.

They also have access to the Recovery Academy, which, over an eight-week full time programme, begins to build the knowledge and skills they need in order to maintain recovery, build a personal recovery support network (including mutual aid groups) and learn to live life to the full.


Further information

Media enquiries: Russ Cockburn, Cucumber PR, on 07812 600271 / russ@cucumberpr.co.uk.

Recovery Central Launch Media Pack