Aurora Project Lambeth - Supporting Recovering Substance Users in the Borough of Lambeth

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Aurora Project Lambeth is a small local project in Brixton. It is a social enterprise that provides support to people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in the borough of Lambeth. It works closely with other service providers in Lambeth but is a completely independent operation.

The organisation is quite unique in that it was set up by recovering substance users who have been through the system themselves and saw a need for more non-medical support for those in recovery. The Project only works with clients who are already seeking treatment within the borough. These clients will already be receiving the medical support that they need. The Aurora Project aims to provide moral support as well as practical guidance, bridging the gap between addiction and those techniques needed to help toward living a substance free life.

Even after going through treatment and breaking their physical dependencies, many people in treatment struggle to reintegrate with society. The challenges of trying to start again can seem overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to begin. For some, they have been surrounded by people who can often, even if unintentionally, contribute to enabling a lifestyle the client may want to distance themselves from. Many have become alienated from friends and family. Social isolation is a big part of the problem and not having that support network can mean that people are more likely to relapse into old habits. A lot of clients come to the Aurora Project hoping to meet new people and make friends. Mentors direct clients towards the many social and support groups that the borough has to offer to recovering substance users. They also provide practical guidance in matters such as housing, job seeking and finances to help get their lives back on track.

At Aurora Project Lambeth, training is provided to volunteer peer mentors who are then paired with clients to support them through their recovery. All the volunteers are in recovery themselves and have been through the system so can not only empathise but also give good practical advice. The project is only a couple of years old and is already seeing some really positive results. The idea is that ultimately today’s client will be tomorrow’s volunteer and as such the project can continue to support them. One of the fundamental principles at Aurora Project Lambeth is that people in recovery from their addictions have a lot to offer to their communities. Through engaging people in recovery in volunteering activities and enabling to use their experiences to help others get through similar circumstances, the project is successfully deconstructing the stereotype that drug and alcohol users are a constant burden on society.

Based on information supplied by Roisin Therese.

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