ESCAPE’s £500,000 boost
A CHARITY which supports people affected by drug, alcohol and solvent abuse in Northumberland has secured a funding boost of almost £500,000 to help continue and improve its vital work.

Escape Family Support, which was set up in 1995 and is based in Blyth, has been awarded £390,000 in the latest round of grants from the Big Lottery Fund. At the same time, the Northern Rock Foundation has contributed £109,663 in match funding.

The Lottery money will be used to safeguard and expand its innovative family support programme for carers of people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.

It will enable the charity to sustain its current level of service to carers, and also extend it into the rural north and west areas of Northumberland so that more people can benefit.

Escape is one of five projects across the North East, and 62 nationally, to share a total of £14.9m from the Reaching Communities programme.

The Northern Rock Foundation match funding will help cover the salary of Escape’s family team manager.

The two awards come at a time when the charity has also just regained its prestigious gold standard awarded by Investors In People.

Escape was founded by Blyth mum Janet Murphy following the death of her teenage daughter, Jennie Hindhaugh, from a drugs cocktail.

It has achieved national recognition and praise, and now deals with about 700 people a year who are affected by drug, alcohol or solvent misuse.

It offers confidential support, advice and information to anyone affected by substance abuse, including users themselves, and their family, carers and friends.

Yesterday Janet said: “This is a welcome boost for Escape and it comes at a time of great change for us. The Big Lottery and Northern Rock Foundation funding will guarantee the jobs of our family team, and also bring an increase in staff.

“The support services on offer are unique to Escape and there is a growing demand for the service.

“I’m especially proud of re-gaining the IIP gold standard, because it is a true reflection of the dedicated work of the entire organisation.

“It’s a tremendous achievement, which has come after a great disappointment in losing our contracts with Northumberland County Council for tier two and three service provision, including structured day care.

“The loss of those contracts means that we have to slim down the organisation and highly valued employees will be leaving us in the near future.

“However, this news tells everyone that, despite that setback, we are here to stay.

“The core of our work goes on and we plan to see it continue to grow throughout the entire county.”

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