Free the Way is a Seaham based charity, which helps people who have a history of addiction to drugs and alcohol, to establish a new way of life in recovery from addiction. The charity provides accommodation and programmes to help service users out of the trap of dependence and to move on to independent living. As part of their recovery programme a group of 14 men came to Minsteracres nine times during 2018, to spend two days volunteering. They have volunteered in the Peace Garden, Walled Garden, on the Estate and in the house in all weathers.  The amount of work they have contributed to the running of Minsteracres is phenomenal. They are an amazing task force for any job, whether that is moving furniture around the building, moving mountains of gravel or compost, making paths, planting trees – the list is endless! The group of guys were responsible for moving all of the gravel and stones for laying the new path in the shrubbery during the summer, and had the blisters and insect bites to prove it!

The Outreach Team supports these men during their stay in the Youth Centre. Minsteracres catering staff cook their evening meals which members of the outreach team collect, like Meals on Wheels, and serve the men in The Youth Centre after their day’s work. Their appetites were amazing, and their enjoyment of home cooking, especially the puddings, is a joy to behold!

Outreach Team members Lindsay Kingett, Liz Hume, and Outreach Coordinator Liz Holmes offer the group relaxation and wellbeing practices with Outreach Volunteers Moira Waugh and Tess Gooch offering support. The guys always enjoy a visit from and banter with Fr. Mark!

From all of us at Minsteracres – a huge thank you to all of the people from Free the Way who have visited us and volunteered – we really appreciate all of your hard work!

by Liz Holmes