Charity that supports addicts in Norfolk and Suffolk celebrates 35th birthday

Norcas 35th birthday celebrations at Open in Norwich.
Photo: Bill Smith Norcas 35th birthday celebrations at Open in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Friday, August 23, 2013
6:30 AM

In the late 1970s a need was identified to set up a new charity to deliver treatment and recovery services for alcoholics in Norwich.

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Thirty-five years on, Norcas (Norfolk Community Alcohol Service) has helped tens of thousands of addicts and established projects throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.

Officials from the charity, which merged with a national organisation at the end of last year to form Phoenix + Norcas, pledged to enhance services and help even more vulnerable people following a period of change for the charity that was established in St Vedast Street, Norwich, in 1978.

After originally being set up as a service for alcoholics to quit their addiction, Norcas has extended its remit to help drug addicts and gamblers.

Several people who had turned their lives around following support from the charity got on stage at a 35th birthday party yesterday at Open in Norwich to speak about their experiences, with many saying their lives had been saved following the support of Norcas.

The celebration follows several changes over the last year following the merger with Phoenix Futures and the news that the charity had lost its treatment and recovery contract for people in Norfolk, which is now delivered by the Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP), operated by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, The Matthew Project and the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners’ Trust.

However, Norcas continues to provide a range of services, including an outreach service for addicts over the age of 50, a welfare rights service to help users with benefits applications, young carers scheme for children whose parents are battling addiction, a support house in King’s Lynn for people who have come out of rehab, and GamCare, which supports people with gambling addictions.

Karen Biggs, chief executive of Phoenix + Norcas, said both charities shared the philosophy of “supporting people with addictions to fulfil their potential.”

“We have made a positive impact on the lives of many people in East Anglia and this is also a time for us to look to the future. It has been a difficult year, but the commitment to serve the most vulnerable people in this community is as strong as ever. There is no reason why we can not carry on for another 35 years,” she said.

Officials from the charity said the need for their services was as great as ever with an estimated 29,000 people in Norfolk (5.4pc) with some dependency on alcohol and 18,000 people (3.4pc) dependent on drugs.

Adele Duncan, director of operations for the charity, added that they were keen to grow and offer more services to addicts and was about to start a volunteer recruitment drive.

The 35th birthday party in Norwich included live music, former addicts talking about their experiences with Norcas and the cutting of a celebratory cake.

If you feel like you need the help of the charity, call 01603 660 070.

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