Mum's late bid to save Mansfield charity for recovering addicts

A last-ditch bid has been made to save a Mansfield-based charity that helps recovering drink and drug addicts.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 4:15 pm
Claire Hannah with her two daughters, Ella-Grace and Louise.

Double Impact, which has an academy on St John Street, is on death row as it waits to see if it has won funding from the National Lottery that will enable it to carry on.

The deadline for funding is at the end of next week (April 30), after which closure could become inevitable.

However, mum Claire Hannah, one of the charity’s former clients, has issued a plea to keep the lifeline service open.

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And she has launched a GoFundMe page, appealing for financial support, with an ambitious goal of £50,000.

Mum-of-two Claire, 36, said: "Double Impact is vital for the people of Mansfield and surrounding areas. It will have a huge impact if it was to close.

"The benefits of the service are amazing. It not only supports addicts with recovery, it also helps with education and social inclusion for people that may otherwise be isolated.

"It provides a way of reintegrating individuals into society. Anything that you can spare would be fantastic.”

Claire, who lives in Sutton, was only a teenager when she started to drink heavily to try and cope with mental-health problems.

As she became an alcoholic, she lost her home and couldn’t even see her two daughters.

Her lowest point came when, homeless, she had to live in a Wendy house in a friend’s back garden

“But when I self-referred to Double Impact in June 2019, it was my turning point,” she said. “It saved my life.

"I started attending weekly groups and self-development courses at the Mansfield academy and, over time, my confidence started to grow.

"Everyone was willing to listen and offer support.

"Double Impact may have only a small team of staff, but they are fantastic at what they do.”

Claire now has her own home again, regularly sees her children and is actively seeking a job.

She added: “Without Double Impact, I very much doubt that I would be sober, have a roof over my head or have the relationship I do today with my children.

"When I heard it was potentially closing, I was devastated and dumbfounded.

"Hearing that the service may not be available to others like me, helping them to contribute to society in a positive way, stirs up a feeling of sadness and dread.”

The charity, which was founded in 1998, has helped hundreds of recovering addicts in a similar position to Claire, and currently has 50 people on its books.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it has received two emergency grants of £40,000 from the Lottery’s Community Fund to help keep it going.

But with so many charities now in need of financial help, there is no guarantee of any more assistance.

Joe Maddox, the charity’s employment and learning manager based at the Mansfield academy, said: “We have not had a decision yet.

"Our funding runs out on April 30, and after that, we are not sure what will happen.

"We have had to budget for closure.”