THE man who oversees Burton’s biggest social housing provider has lifted the lid on the ‘vital’ work the organisation does with the town’s drug rehabilitation centre.
Ron Dougan, chief executive of Trent and Dove Housing, spoke to the Mail in detail about the work that it does with the Burton Addiction Centre (BAC).
The housing chief has explained how the relationship works, given examples of how they link-up has supported hundreds of people in the town and how both organisations plan to develop and work together in the future.
He said: “We don’t have a formal contractual relationship, but we are both based in Burton town centre and exist to help the people and communities of East Staffordshire.
“Trent and Dove’s mission is to transform homes, lives and neighbourhoods.
“BAC do some truly inspirational work in helping those with addiction problems, break the habit and rebuild their lives.
“This fits in perfectly with the transforming lives part of our Mission.
“We also work closely with Recovery is Out There (RIOT), a BAC group of former addicts who go in to schools and warn our young people of the dangers of drugs and alcohol and in to prisons to show addicts that there is a way to get clean and stay clean.
“They do some fantastic work getting people off drugs and drink and keeping future generations off addiction in the first place.
“Our chairman, John Jackson, is also chairman of Langans Tea Rooms, in George Street.
“Langans is a social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities for people who have been through the BAC recovery process.”
Mr Dougan then moved on to describe how both Trent and Dove and the BAC work together to try and improve the lives of people across the area.
He added: “ It starts when someone first goes in to BAC to start their recovery process to get them off drugs or drink.
“Our team gets to know the individual, what they will need in terms of support when they come back in to the community.
“Making sure they have a home that suits their needs in the right area is a very important part of this.”
“We have housed more than 100 people from BAC during the last eight or nine years.
“The vast majority of these have been excellent tenants and have a better record of holding a successful tenancy than those who come from our normal waiting list.
“Many former BAC clients are a very positive influence in the communities where they live, carrying out community work.”
The housing boss revealed that the partnership has grown over the years and explained how it has done so.
“At the start it was only really Trent and Dove who were prepared to work with BAC and over the years we have developed a closer working relationship, built on trust and having the same aim of helping to improve the lives of local people,” he said.
“Other housing associations are now keen to take people who have gone through the BAC recovery process as tenants.
“I have personally presented across the country at numerous conferences with Noreen Oliver from BAC to persuade other housing associations to take on those who have gone through the recovery process.”
After looking back on the past, Mr Dougan how both organisations will change in the future.
He said: “BAC have started to expand and now have another operation called the O’Connor Centre that serves Newcastle under Lyme and Stoke and they plan to open another centre in Cannock.
“We are proud to work with BAC and are happy to help them expand their sphere of operations across Staffordshire, so that even more people can benefit from their inspirational work.”
The BAC was set up by Noreen Oliver in Station Street in 1998 after suffering an alcohol addiction herself which brought her, at one point, to the brink of death.
She was made an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s honours list for her work to rehabilitating drug addicts and alcoholics
She also received a lifetime achievement award from the Centre for Social Justice and carried the Olympic Torch.