ESCAPE Family Support is celebrating after being awarded almost £250,00 in National Lottery funding to support its work with families affected by a loved one’s addiction over the next three years.

The Northumberland charity, based in Susan Kennedy Centre, Ashington, will use the cash to introduce and embed a new and stronger mutual aid approach that provides training, opportunities and support to our Family Champions who are ‘experts by experience’, and have expressed their desire to give something back and help others to achieve positive change.

ESCAPE Family Support has been running since 1995 and is staffed by five paid staff and over forty volunteers. It was founded by Janet Murphy MBE after the death of her daughter Jennie from drug poisoning in March 1994 as there was no support for families struggling with a loved one’s drug or alcohol use or those bereaved as a result of this.

The charity now provides a comprehensive range of  services to support families, carers, young people and children including 24/7 Helpline, advice, information,  1-1 support, counselling, Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT), Teen Triple P parenting programmes, and other evidence-based interventions to help families develop coping strategies, grow in confidence and learn new skills.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will also see the charity pilot and introduce a new support programme specifically designed and targeted at children and young people whose lives are blighted by the drug or alcohol dependency of others. ESCAPE’s aim is to provide essential support for these children and young people to develop their resilience, confidence and independence, to help them to grow and to reach their full potential.

At the same time, the charity will be developing themed support groups. These will help both adults and young people to build relationships with others experiencing the same challenges and hopefully enable them to develop their own support network.

Janet Murphy MBE, Founder and Chief Executive says: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to continue supporting families at a time of increased need in our communities. The families we work with often feel isolated and the current Coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the problems faced by families affected by addiction. The National Lottery funding will help us to sustain and develop our unique specialist support services and reach more people. Our new Family Champions will build relationships with others facing similar challenges and help them to create their own supportive circles of peers and friends.

The carers and families we work with are delighted that we are able to extend  our reach and have been able to protect our service for the next three years. This is important because ESCAPE is the only specialist provider of support to families affected by a loved one’s drug and alcohol use in Northumberland.”

Jackie Axelby MBE, Chair adds “This is a major new initiative for ESCAPE which will make a real difference to many people’s lives. We have been wanting to extend our service into these areas of need for some time and are so pleased that we can now do it with the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.”

“In these difficult and challenging times ESCAPE continues to provide support to Northumberland residents via telephone and online. Anyone who is struggling and in need of support can contact the charity on its 24/7 helpline: 07702 833 944.”

“To find find out more about the support provided by ESCAPE for carers and families affected by addiction visit our website:”

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.