James Deakin’s Recovery Voices Teaser

I’m really pleased to post the second of our Recovery Voices Teasers, that of James Deakin, the Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor, North Wales. Having edited the film of my colleague Wulf Livingston’s ‘s interview of James, and then interviewed James myself, I’m really impressed by him and what he and his colleagues have achieved at NWRC.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Wulf to NWRC’s Penrhyn House and to their restaurant/cafe Bwyd Da Bangor (Good Food Bangor) in September last year. I had a really good breakfast at the latter. Sadly, James was out of town. I look forward to meeting him on my next visit. For now, we’ll be chatting on Zoom.

James has been in recovery for 15 years and is now sharing his experiences of active addiction and offending to support other people to bring a positive change to their own lives. He believes strongly in the concepts of mutual aid and shared experience, and these are underlying foundations of NWRC, which he founded in 2014.

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Rising Above Covid: James Deakin

During a Covid lockdown, 18 North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) members, including a number of former chefs in recovery, are locked down in the recovery community’s Penrhyn House. They start to feed vulnerable people in the community, using food from the community allotment and provided by supermarkets. The food is gathered, cooked, frozen and delivered. A total of 80,000 meals are provided to families and individuals.

The recovery community responds quicker to feeding vulnerable people than the Welsh government and local councils. In fact, the Welsh government eventually provides some funding for the initiative, at least during the Covid lockdown. NWRC currently runs a surplus food club at their cafe, Bwyd Da Bangor (Good Food Bangor). [7’30”]

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The North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC): James Deakin

Last week, I introduced you to James Deakin, the Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC), and an interview he had with my Recovery Voices colleague Wulf Livingston. I was thrilled to edit this fascinating and informative interview into 13 short films totalling just under 80 minutes. Here is the 11th of these film clips [Apologies for the slow internet connection at one end]:

James describes activities of NWRC, eight years on from its initial development. It has a residence that houses 18 people, and provides a space for a larger group of people to engage in mutual aid groups daily. It organises outside activities, such as hill walking for recovering people. The Growing for Change project, with its gardens and allotments, engages community members in beneficial activities and provides food for local restaurants, including the community cafe Bwyd Da Bangor.

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Visiting UK Recovery Friends: Part 7 (Wulf Livingston)

On Friday 23 September, I left Gower and headed to Tregarth in North Wales, via Aberystwyth and Dolgellau (where one of my ancestors was born), to stay with Wulf Livingston and his lovely wife Melanie. As I had such a tight schedule, I was due to stay there only one day, but my cousin Emma (my next visit) had just tested positive for Covid, so I ended up staying two days with Wulf and Mel.

I hadn’t seen Wulf in person for nearly 20 years, although we’ve been conversing on Facetime for the last year or so. I first met Wulf in 2000 when Becky Hancock and I were conducting the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund (DATF) evaluation in Wales. The local evaluator for North Wales, Annie Stonebridge, used to organise our meetings when we visited the region, and always arranged for us to meet Wulf, as we got on so well and we were learning so much from him. Wulf was Community Services Manager for the treatment service CAIS at the time. I was always impressed that he used go out and meet service users in their homes or other places of their choice, rather than have them come to visit in the formal surrounds of the treatment service, which was the general practice in the field.

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