Former users of the Forward Leeds service along with staff and volunteers paraded through Middlesbrough town centre on Saturday 7 September as part of the UK Recovery Walk.
September is Recovery Month and the Recovery Walk is a key date during the month. Every year a different town or city in the UK is chosen to host the walk. This year is the 11th year of the walk.
Dean Wood, Sustained Recovery worker at Forward Leeds and 5 WAYS said: ”It was a really good day and really well attended yet again. I think we all managed to highlight that we can overcome the stigma that addiction can bring.
“Everyone that attended from 5 WAYS and Forward Leeds gave really positive feedback. In fact, some of them said they loved being there, with other people in recovery just celebrating what they have all achieved together.”
The event was a great success with thousands of people attending from all across the UK. The walk began in the newly developed Centre Square in Middlesbrough. The walk took the crowd through the busy shopping streets of Middlesbrough before returning to Centre Square.
Live music, stalls and activities were on offer for the event attendees and the sun shone throughout the day. Highlights included performances by singers Emily Wilton and Jamie Grey and the band Suco Samba. The city had even dyed the water in the Centre Square fountains purple in honour of the event.
5 WAYS member Paul Waterworth who attended the walk said: “If you watched, every person in the walk had a smile on their face. They appreciate what they’ve got and are now full of the joy of life. I was enjoying myself so much, I didn’t want to leave.”
Recovery Month is an international campaign that takes place in September across the world celebrating people’s recovery from addiction. It is also much more than that – it is an opportunity to celebrate and promote the passion, wisdom and strengths within families, neighbourhoods and communities.