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An art exhibition showcasing the stories of local people in recovery from problematic alcohol and drug misuse was visited by RSA President, HRH The Princess Royal.

Attending in support of the RSA’s Whole Person Recovery project, the Princess met with local people in recovery who have been working on the artwork as part of their recovery programmes.

Hosted by the River Centre in Tonbridge, and facilitated by the Stepping Stone Studios in Maidstone, the event titled ‘Recovery Stories: Celebrating Journeys of Courage, Compassion and Hope’ is part of the wider West Kent Recovery Service, a partnership between CRI, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the RSA.

The partnership aims to reintegrate drug misusers back into their communities through pioneering the use of local ‘recovery alliances’ – partnerships made up of service users, community workers, local businesses and other volunteers.

The exhibition will remain on view to the public for four weeks before touring to Maidstone and Gravesend. The exhibition also shows work by the artist Mikele Roselli-Cecconi, who painted fifteen portraits of individuals involved in the Whole Person Recovery project including programme participants and their families, professional service-providers and other stakeholders.

Commenting on the visit, RSA Lead Recovery Community Organiser, Stuart Taylor said:

“We’re delighted to be able to show our President, HRH, the Princess Royal, the great strides the Whole Person Recovery project has made in helping local people recover from their drug misuse. The project has worked tirelessly to break down long held stigmas around drug misuse and encourage communities to help with people’s recovery. Our approach does not finish as treatment ends but instead focuses on helping people build bridges to participating in society.”

RSA Recovery Community Organisers based in Maidstone, Gravesend, and Tonbridge have been delivering various initiatives as part of the project including a grants scheme, a programme of lectures and a whole host of activities and training programmes to help improve people’s chances of a sustained recovery.

Unlike traditional drug treatment services, our partnership’s West Kent Recovery Service aims to:

  • Involve drug misusers in the design and development of a personalised recovery programme.

  • Build a system of recovery around the individual’s personal experience of drug use, prison, treatment, family relationships, employment and community life.

  • Sustain individuals’ recovery journeys by ensuring local communities, businesses, volunteers and social enterprises work pull together in support.

The contract for delivering the substance misuse services in West Kent was awarded on a payment by results basis, in which a proportion of the value of the contract is dependent on improving health and wellbeing and reducing reoffending.

Early indications show that the project, which has been running since April 2012, has been successful, in particular with low numbers of drug misusers needing further help from treatment services.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information contact RSA Head of Media Luke Robinson by email, or call him on 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970.
  2. To contact Director of Stepping Stones Studios and lead facilitator of the workshops, email Emma Whittall or call 07787 470 495.
  3. The professional artist Mikele Roselli-Cecconi can be reached via email or by telephone: 07803 781 590. 


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