A REHABILITATION group for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts is set to launch in a Nelson church.

Some services managed by Inspire, which tackles substance misuse, have been moved from Burnley to The Mission, in Goitside, to meet growing demand.

The man behind the project, Harry Hancock, said he wanted to ‘end the stigma’ faced by those recovering from drug dependency.

Mr Hancock, an academy co-ordinator for Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI), which runs Inspire centres, said there was a real need for the project in Nelson.

He said: “It started out at our Burnley project where I run the recovery activities. We get around 40 people a day through there asking for our services but Pendle is a lot worse off than Burnley.

“We have a lot of contact with The Mission – we know our numbers are going up and theirs are going down. They want the whole community to benefit from this.”

Inspire has liased with the church’s administrator Amanda Heaton and Pastor Ian Humphreys to set up the recovery cafe and education centre two days a week.

Mr Hancock said: “We have a service in Nelson but what I am offering is an extension to what we do there. I run the recovery side of things – stuff for service users to do as opposed to treatment, and without the pressures.

“We have football teams and cooking session. We have 12 laptops and use them to do job searches and lessons in maths, English and IT.

“People using our service get stigmatised but this sort of thing makes it easier. When they get home in the evening, sometimes people struggle, but this can help.

“People talk a lot more chopping an onion that during a one-on-one.”

The centre will launch today at noon and run Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm.