13 years ago, trapped in the relentless cycle of addiction, life no longer held any hope for Steve Dixon.A Father, a husband, a son consumed with the heavy weight of the shame of addiction; years of repeated attempts to reach out to the limited avenues of support available to him, propelled a desperate young man into getting up close and personal with the belief there was no other option than suicide.
Today, Changes UK is recognised as a leading recovery model in the UK, a ground – breaking model of innovative recovery services, social enterprise and community re generation and transformation born out of the hopelessness of that very same day.
Steve’s ethos “Changing Pain Into Purpose” underpins the culture and social conscience of his driving dedication to restore the dignity of those and their families affected by addiction; to empower communities to be part of the solution, bringing recovery services into a whole new dimension, with a passion to ensure that no one is suffering alone without knowing that they too are entitled to a life with love and purpose.
Runner up at the EY 2016 Entrepreneur of the year awards Steve’s entrepreneurial passion extends to ensuring those on the road back to recovery are given every support and encouragement to not just live a life existing but one of purpose, connection and value.
An engaging and charismatic speaker Steve is regularly sought out as an authority on change and transformation, demonstrating (his conviction) that every challenge is an opportunity for innovation has led to working with leading organisations on issues of strategy, innovation management and anticipatory strategic change. Steve believes that real change occurs when you work from the inside out, that it begins with each of us and our relationships with one another.
Steve lives with his wife Debbie, 4 children and 2 Labradoodles in Birmingham. He is a staunch Birmingham City fan who listens to Bob Marley and occasionally plays golf badly.
Kobina is delighted to be Changes UK’s Operations Manager. He comes to Changes UK with a strong background in operational and people management after a 22-year career in the public and privatised probation service in the West Midlands. In his spare time, Kobina enjoys eating out with his partner and four children, reading fiction and playing his ukulele whilst singing at the top of his voice.
A carpenter who worked on big construction projects in New York, where he lived for 12 years, Steve struggled with addiction. After a spell in rehab in Florida Steve came to Birmingham where he became a member of the recovery community and decided on a career change. Steve joined Changes UK as a volunteer support worker in 2011 and was promoted to Manager of our detox facility in 2013. In 2015 Steve was promoted to his current role; “I am very happy in my new role and have an excellent team of Peer Mentors and Recovery Coaches who help to ensure that our projects run smoothly.”
Nic brings with her over 25 years experience in business development, a passionate communicator and connector bringing together groups and individuals to create powerful and effective change making partnerships.
Central to Nic’s work is the belief that when we collaborate, communities not only discover that they hold the solution but have real power to be a genuine force for positive social change.
A former Trustee for Changes UK, Nic’s mission is to work with both the private and the public sector to challenge the stigma that surrounds addiction by fostering conversations that are inclusive and transformational in establishing recovery.
Nic loves nothing more than being amongst friends and family cooking and creating memories – A self confessed food snob, ridiculously passionate about bringing people together around a table to talk, share and connect with really good food at the centre.
If she’s not cooking she’ll be outdoors, Mum to teenage son Elijah and a crazy hyperactive spaniel Harley. Nic is in her first year of study in Transpersonal Psychology.
Karen Brown is a mother of 3 children and came from a long history of the hopelessness of addiction. Karen truly believed that freedom from active addiction would never be possible for someone like her. In 2010, Karen was finally given the opportunity to go to rehab with her 2 younger children. Since then Karen has been developing herself whilst being greatly involved in supporting others in recovery, helping them to find the same hope and freedom she found.
Since finding recovery, Karen has completed a Law Degree and spent over 4 years working at Citizens Advice where she managed a team of both paid and voluntary advisers.
Karen says “I am passionate about the work that Changes are doing and relish the opportunity to play a part in the team to enable others in recovery to reach above and beyond their wildest dreams, as I have.”
Alex was a Gamekeeper by trade and came to Changes after being beaten down by his addictions. Alex entered Clarity House as a resident in our detox and went through stage 1, stage 2, 3 and 4 of our programme. Alex started volunteering for Changes UK and in December 2015 secured a full-time job with Changes. Alex is now the Project Co-Ordinator at the very same detox that he went through in Clarity House, Solihull.
“I am passionate about Changes and the work that we do, we take people who are trapped, enslaved, marginalised and hopeless and help them to become productive, free and hopeful. I am now able to realise the dreams that I had once given up on and I love helping others to do the same!”
Nicky started his journey within ChangesUK as a volunteer in 2012 and went on to develop and deliver a programme at New Leaf recovery. After 3 years he moved on to a management role at Bayberry Clinic, returning to Clarity House in 2017. Nicky is a father to two beautiful little girls and took a little time out of his addiction foundations degree to spend time with his family, but has now picked back up with his studying and is engaged in a Psychology and Counselling degree through university.
Ben had a history of drug use for over 20 years and he came to Changes after he completed a residential rehabilitation and wanted to continue on in recovery and to find a bridge to normal living. He came into the service and began volunteering within the Recovery Academy and our stage 2 property. He eventually began assisting within the office and was successful in gaining employment within the organisation.
Ben is our Peer Mentor and is responsible for assisting our service users with their benefit claims, debt management and facilitates weekly house groups with the service users to check in on their weekly progress and deal with coping strategies and how to build upon their recovery capital.
Ben says “I was so grateful to finally be clean that I wanted to help others achieve the same, the greatest part of my job is seeing people come into the service who have lost everything, are broken inside. get clean, get some hope back in their lives and go on to turn their lives around and achieve their dreams.”
A Gas Engineer by trade, Steve landed in a dry house in Liverpool, after a relapse, where the fellowship assumed he was a musician and nicknamed him ‘Rock Star’. After a spell as a volunteer, Steve blagged his way into an audition for the X Factor before moving to Coventry where he continued to volunteer. The nickname followed Steve to Birmingham where he joined Changes UK as a volunteer in 2014 before becoming an employee in 2015; “I never expected to work in this field, but I found my calling and it’s given me a real zest for life. I just love helping people man.”
I have been working in substance misuses for just over 6 years – I am very passionate about my job and feel it is imperative that people be provided with the right levels of care and support as a means of instigating the recovery process. I’m also in recovery and have been for a number of years. During this time, I have managed to accrue quite a few qualifications and credentials. I’m currently in my final year of university and I’m hoping to complete and receive a qualification in addiction counselling towards the end of the year. I’m very grateful for all the support and help I’ve received along the way -and it is my intention to provide others seeking recovery with a similar experience.
Cheri Gillings has been working with both personal change and organisational change in addiction and recovery treatment services since 2003.
She is a qualified therapeutic counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist and coach. Cheri is “Mum” to one grown up daughter and “Nanny” to her grandson.
Jenny started volunteering at Small Changes when it opened in Feb 2016. She wanted a gateway back into work and to re-build her confidence after 5 years of being a stay at home Mum.
She soon fell in love with the wonderful work done by Changes UK and the Small Changes shop, customers and team. Jenny’s background in hospitality management has given her the skills for excellent customer service as well as the organisational skills a charity shop requires. Her creative background in floristry means she just loves keeping the shop looking at its very best and having fun creating themed displays.
Jenny cannot wait for the opening of Changes Coffee to use her skills even further and develop an amazing coffee shop to engage and provide for a wonderful community in Lyndon Road.
Karen recently joined Changes UK to manage two of our latest business ventures, Changes Coffee and Small Changes; a charity shop selling pre-loved items and clothes for babies and toddlers. Karen is an expert in this field and proof that well-managed retail outlets can provide long term sustainable income for a charitable cause, alongside invaluable volunteering, training and work experience opportunities for people in recovery; “This is an exciting time for Changes and for me and, as Changes Coffee and Small Changes are next door to each other, it’s a great opportunity to bring people together and unite the local community and the recovery community.”
Paige Hancox recently joined ChangesUK as our office administrator and has over 5 years’ experience in the field. She was very keen to join our team and to have the opportunity to give back to a service that has helped a number of her friends in their recovery process over the years. She has been warmly welcomed to the Changes family and is looking forward to her future working within our organisation.
Farzana recently joined Changes UK as a Finance Assistant, she has achieved a degree in Business Management & Accounting and has recently completed her professional qualification in AAT level 2. She has experience working in a team and working with high net worth clients, both of which require extra addition to the “people management” side of business. On a personal level, she likes spending time with her family, watching movies and in her spare time she likes going to Zumba classes. She values the incredible work Changes UK does and how we make positive changes in people’s life.
With us, people in recovery...
...of those in recovery with proven outcomes. More people in stable accommodations, reduction in criminal behaviour and more people enjoying and embracing life.
Let the journey begin.