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Recovery Fest’19 – the first of many!

Last week we at CLI had our very first RECOVERY FEST. The 26th November at Bedford Esquires saw those in recovery from addiction coming from all over the county to get together on a Tuesday night for some sober fun. This event was created by our very own Ricki Barton (GROW Trainee) and Zoe Walker (Recovery Community Development Coordinator). They came up with the idea of Recovery Fest’19 when brainstorming ways to network people in recovery and connect them back to their community. 

Big in Bedfordshire

The days events kick started with a radio interview by Andy Collins from BBC Three Counties Radio. Andy and Zoe discussed how drug and alcohol misuse impacts our local community and what CLI are actively doing to support those trying to make a change. BBC Three Counties kindly invited us back for the ‘drive time’ show that day, giving us another opportunity to chat all things Recovery Fest and CLI. 

Organisers Zoe and Ricki worked hard to ensure that anyone either struggling with their recovery, steady in their recovery, passionate about the topic or keen to give back heard about this event and were given the opportunity to come along. 

Just before doors opened at 7:30pm, BBC Look East finished their news report with Zoe LIVE at Recovery Fest. (See picture, above)

Throughout the day they filmed Mandy, a service user of CLI, on her story of addiction to alcohol. Mandy bravely shared just how big that step to recovery is and why peer led support has really helped her move forward. Her mentor, Ricki Barton, spoke about the guidance he’s provided her with so far and why lived experience has really supported him with his role.

This publicity was a truly exciting addition to the nights agenda and we later found out that it encourage a handful of people (extra) to come along, all in recovery themselves an inspired by what we had created. 

Local talent paying a Tribute

We were grateful to have such incredible local talent performing for us on the night. Live music from the likes of SK and the Kings (See picture, above) Tobias Lock and Banton (See picture, below). 

All sang beautifully, however a special request was granted by Banton in the form of a cover of KALEO’s ‘Automobile’. This song was a favourite of Sean’s, a GROW Trainee and dearly loved staff member we sadly lost earlier this year. The event was a tribute to Sean, he would often go to Esquires to listen to live music and socialise with friends. 

A special message was played by Helen, Sean’s sister, thanking CLI for their kindness and organisation of Recovery Fest’19. She was disappointed she couldn’t make it but stated Sean would have loved it. All the proceeds from entry fee went towards a tribute for Sean in the community. There is talk of a possible bench or tree in his name.

Only the beginning…

Overall the evening was a great success. It was great to see people from so many different walks of life and corners of the community in one room sharing their love of music. We had a minibus full from a treatment centre in Rushden, people from CA, AA etc. groups, CLI service users/volunteers, support from friends and family and then those who had caught wind of the nights events and decided to come along and get to know some new faces. Our aim was to network people in recovery from addiction, show that recovery is possible/fun and finally provide a safe sober environment for people to socialise. We’re so pleased to say that we were able to achieve that last Tuesday. Going forward, this is just the beginning of Recovery Fest and plans to make it bigger and better are already underway… Watch this space! Or, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on ongoings and events.



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