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ABOUT

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Mission:

Our mission is to transform the North East of England from a place with one of the highest rates of alcohol, drug and other addictions and related deaths, to a region with one of the highest rates of abstinence-based recovery.

What we do

To achieve our mission, we:

·       Raise awareness of twelve-step recovery programmes within the wider community

·       Challenge addiction stigma through the media, our digital platforms and all of our day to day interactions to remove the shame and isolation that many people new to recovery may feel and inspire conversation

·       Provide a safe space for the recovery community and beyond to meet and support one another through our alcohol-free bar and café, George Street Social

·       Fundraise to provide increased opportunities and services for people in recovery

·       Programme events and social activities within our dry bar and café

·       Use our own experiences to provide hope to others.

MEET THE TEAM

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PETER MITCHELL - CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Peter’s background has included senior leadership roles within media and third sector organisations, working as a print and broadcast journalist, documentary maker, producer and writer.

Significantly, Peter spent many years as Director of Programmes for Tyne Tees Television and was Managing Director of independent production company, Zenith North before setting up his own consultancy.

His recent stage adaptation of When the Boat Comes In, the hit TV series penned by his father, James Mitchell, received critical acclaim.

Peter has been Chair since 2018, and is hugely passionate about the Trust’s work, having been in recovery for many years. His relationship with alcohol took him to the edge physically, mentally and spiritually, however, after a friend took him to his first twelve-step meeting, he has never looked back.

His primary aim for the Trust is to see more lives saved and transformed through recovery from addiction.


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JESSICA BURNS – TRUSTEE, SECRETARY AND SAFEGUARDING LEAD

Jess plays an active role for the Trust, leading on all safeguarding matters including policy and implementation, working closely with Trust managers.

Having personal experience of food addiction and recovery through the 12-step programme, Jess is passionate about the ability of people with lived experience of addictions to help each other no matter where on the road to recovery they are.

She has worked in paid and voluntary roles within the youth and community sectors for 23 years, and specialises in sex and relationships outreach. Jess is also a trustee for Whitley Bay Big Local and has a BA Hons degree in Community Drama.

Through her involvement with the Trust, Jess seeks to contribute to the growth of the recovery community and reach out to people who are still suffering from addiction.


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BETH COLLARD - MANAGER

Beth leads on the trust’s events and social programme, which takes place from our friendly George Street Social venue. 

She is eleven years sober and regularly attends 12-step meetings.

Professionally, Beth worked in housing before deciding on a significant career change – to become a full-time mum to her two boys. As her boys grew up, Beth began to play a voluntary role in the recovery community and became a trustee of the Road to Recovery Trust. She also acts as an ambassador for a local running group.

Currently, Beth is studying towards a degree with the Open University that she fits in around her work at George Street. 

She’s passionate about creating spaces to bring people together from different fellowships and backgrounds and is keen to help the Trust reach out to many more people who are struggling with addiction.


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SCOTT GARTSHORE - CHAIR

Scott is a regionally-based, professional engineer and a founder member of the Trust.

In addition to this work, Scott is also a trustee of Recovering Justice, an off-shoot of the Road to Recovery Trust that campaigns for social justice and the de-criminalisation and de-stigmatisation of people who use drugs.

He has been in recovery from problematic drug and alcohol use for over 17 years, and has now found a life in which he is able to love and be loved.

His early work with the trust was driven by an ambition to create a shared space for the various recovery communities and fellowships, which can be found today in George Street Social. He now campaigns for a reduction in addiction stigma which he believes will enable more people to seek help, talk about their problems and feel less ashamed or alone.


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MAL MACLEAN - GOVERNANCE LEAD

With a passion for peer-to-peer recovery programmes and many years’ experience in commissioning and service design, Mal is perfectly-placed to manage and develop the trust. 

A qualified social worker and practice teacher, he’s managed services across the country to support people experiencing homelessness, drug and alcohol problems as well as individuals on probation.

Mal has worked in a range of roles throughout his career including: North East Manager for Drugs and Alcohol with Turning Point; Deputy Regional Manager for the National Treatment Agency and Commissioner for Drug Treatment with Newcastle City Council, as well as roles with the National Probation Service and CAYSH Youth Homeless Project in South London.

In a voluntary capacity, Mal is Secretary for North East Athletic Recovery Football Club, a trustee with Soul Food Spaces and a member of Fans Supporting Foodbanks. 

He’s been with the Trust since May 2018 and his aim is to see an increased understanding of recovery and a reduction in addiction stigma.


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LUCY NICHOL - TRUSTEE, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS LEAD

Lucy is a writer, communications professional, speaker and published author who has worked extensively with the national Mind and Time to Change media teams. This has included working as a script advisor with Mind, collaborating with TV researchers to ensure responsible portrayals of mental health problems in soaps and dramas.

She is currently Head of Marketing and Communications for NewcastleGateshead Initiative and its sister marketing agency, NGI Solutions. She also continues to write for a range of titles including The Independent and Metro, and runs a mental health podcast called The REALLY Cast.

Having worked as a campaigner and writer to reduce mental health stigma for the past few years, Lucy felt that the one issue rarely included in the national conversation was addiction stigma. This is why she was so keen to join the Trust’s board and play a role in challenging inaccurate beliefs about drug and alcohol use.


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PAULA COWIE - VICE CHAIR

Paula spent 15 years in bar and club management in London and Newcastle, leading on flagship launches at premium sites and venues.

On moving back to the North East Paula decided to user her transferable management skills to benefit the third sector, and as such has been involved in the creation and running of a range of innovative recovery services for a national charity.

In addition to contributing her time and expertise to the Road to Recovery Trust, Paula also serves as a trustee for Recovering Justice and is an active community fundraiser.

Having personally experienced addiction, as well as seeing it affect friends and family, Paula firmly believes that those of us with lived experience can make a real step-change in recovery rates. Her ambition is to see Newcastle transform from a place with one of the highest rates of drug and alcohol deaths, to a leading hub for addiction recovery.


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PAUL RICHARDSON - TRUSTEE / TREASURER

Paul spent eighteen years trading and broking in the commodities markets in London, followed by another twenty-one years in the regulation of those markets, firstly at the Financial Services Authority (later FCA) followed by roles with BP and a UK recognised investment exchange.

Now in retirement, Paul spends much of his time volunteering, and is currently a teaching assistant at Action Language in Newcastle – an organisation that provides free English classes for asylum seekers and other refugees.

Paul has been in recovery for 26 years and is passionate about the Trust having seen the contribution it has already made to people’s lives as they take those first tentative steps away from the grip of addiction.

He hopes to see a significant decrease in the shame and stigma around addiction, which is gradually beginning to lift, and he looks forward to playing a role in this process as a trustee.


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LIONEL JOYCE, CBE, OBE - FOUNDER

Lionel is an alcoholic in long term recovery. He was a Legal Services Commissioner, a Mental Health Act Commissioner, a member of the Public Guardian Board and CEO of Newcastle Mental Health and Community NHS Trust. He chaired the national association of NHS Trusts.

He has founded several charities including Mental Health Concern, the Friends of Summerhill and the Road to Recovery Trust. He chaired Turning Point appointing its current CEO Lord Victor Adebowale.

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NEWS AND EVENTS


GEORGE STREET SOCIAL

We opened George Street Social in 2016 to provide a safe place for people in all stages of recovery, as well as the general public, to enjoy an alcohol-free social space.

But importantly, we reckon it’s one of the best coffee shops in town! It provides a ‘bridge to normality’ for those in recovery, rather than separating the community. Oh, and great coffee and cake!

The space is used for any purpose that helps people grow, flourish or improve any aspect of their physical, emotional, spiritual & mental wellbeing.

To find out more, visit our venue website

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