Mulberry Community Project.
What is it? What does it do? Why does it do it?
What is it?
Mulberry is a Supported Housing Project charity that saves lives through helping people sustain abstinence from drugs/alcohol. There have been numerous people who have been through Mulberry and they will tell you quite frankly that Mulberry has literally saved their lives. Most of our residents are either post treatment or post prison and have already made a commitment to seek abstinence as a way forward for their lives. They have now left treatment or prison and they are now left to seek their own recovery in what can often be a harsh world where there are temptations and pitfalls everywhere. The rate of relapse is well documented post treatment with anything up to a 90% relapse rate. Coming out of a prison environment will be no different. At Mulberry we give people a safe secure environment where they can explore their road to recovery while living in the "real world" such as the rest of us have to live in. We provide an holistic environment where people can not only have a safe place to live but also room to find new friends in recovery, somewhere to educate themselves, somewhere to look and find volunteering roles or somewhere to work. We have several groups a week where we look at recovery and people are encourage to attend groups outside of Mulberry so they can build up a circle of people who are also in recovery. Mulberry is a mechanism whereby people who want extra support on leaving the bubble that is rehab/prison can get that support and supervision.
What does it do?
Mulberry puts together people seeking support to maintain abstinence and helps them find their road to recovery. We provide mutual support through meetings, we provide 1-2-1 support through a keyworker and we provide a safe secure living environment while people are seeking their recovery. We also look at living skills and help with those as and where we can so that residents are able to cope when moving into their own independent living.
Why does it do it?
Mulberry does what it does because there was a massive yawning chasm when people in treatment were leaving treatment and trying to cope in the real world. For most people it was too much and there is a very high rate of relapse. The reason for starting Mulberry was to try to save people relapsing at this very vulnerable stage in their recovery journey therefore saving the pain and anguish of relapse, the revolving door scenario and the cost to the taxpayer and the other costs such as reoffending rates.
Does it work?
The plain and simple answer is yes it works for some and no it does not work for others which actually confirms the view that the support is something that is really needed and only confirms the argument that the service is valuable. The fact that we have heard so many times from people that without the support we gave they would have been dead is confirmation enough. If we only save one person then it has been worth it. We have had people leaving us and going into full time work and therefore paying taxes and putting back into society where before all they did was take and that is proof enough that it works. We know that we have stopped people reoffending and therefore stopped them going back into prison so we know that it works and it saves money by not sending people back into prison life. We have turned people’s lives around and helped them seek their dream of abstinence. Even the people who have relapsed have tasted what recovery is like and enjoyed the experience and some have started the walk again knowing what they are seeking to achieve with a clearer understanding of what being abstinent is all about so the Mulberry experience has not been wasted even on the people who have not made it.
What do you think?