Bid to create home for ex-drug addicts
AN EMPTY care home could become a centre to help former drug users and alcoholics rebuild their lives.
Hanley-based charity Brighter Futures is in talks with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to take over the ex-Mary Bourne Home building on Wooliscroft Road, Bucknall.
The site was one of six city council-owned care centres which were closed down in 2008.
Now, Brighter Futures is proposing to use the premises as a residential home for people to get back on their feet after detoxing from alcohol or drug problems.
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Chris Herbert, the charity's director of business development, said: "If it goes ahead, the centre will help people integrate back into society after going through extremely difficult times.
"We will offer residents training in vital life and workplace skills."
For more than 20 years, Better Futures has provided support to people who need help to live 'independent and fulfilled lives'.
The charity currently supports around 2,000 residents in the city.
It says residents typically have low incomes and problems with their health, ability to find work and social skills.
Mr Herbert added: "We support people who have addressed their addictions, and require a calm environment to aid their rehabilitation.
"Our current building is no longer fit for purpose."
The charity approached the city council with a proposal to change Mary Bourne from a 50-bedroom care home into a smaller number of self-contained units where people can stay for up to two years.
Mr Herbert said: "We had a warm response from the local residents' association and we look forward to being part of a strong community.
"Eventually, we would like to see our residents working in the gardens with local people who can share their experience and skills."
Councillor Paul Shotton, city council cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and finance, confirmed the building was council-owned and that a purchase proposal by Brighter Futures was under consideration.
Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for social care, said: "Under the council's mandate for change, a top priority is to help all people live positive and independent lives within the community and we would look to integrate those services which Brighter Futures provides with wider provision across the city, like the Safer City Partnership drug and alcohol services."
Gordon Johnson, aged 75, of Hopwood Place, lives opposite the site.
He said: "We have heard rumours that the place will be turned into a kind of rehabilitation centre.
"I can't see any reason to worry about it being used for that if it's helping people get back on their feet."