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Talk about 'recovery groups' can often lead to a discussion of 12 step based groups, SMART groups, service-user groups and so on. These types of groups are fairly easy to understand from the ‘outside’ and thanks to the media portrayal of some recovery groups, there can sometimes be a narrow view of them. They can follow particular formats, they can have certain traditions or rules and they can aim for specific outcomes that may be measurable.

But there are also those recovery groups that are simply individuals that come together on a regular basis to a venue with no particular objective other than to have something fun or different to do and meet like-minded people.

The FREE group in Peterborough is a good example of this. The group, which developed out of a series of activities for the Recovery Capital project, has doubled in size since forming just 8 weeks ago, they now have a new permanent home and are beginning to meet more frequently.  As one member put it at our co-design event in mid-January: “we get together and have a giggle!”

The group are already having a big impact on each other’s recovery and lives and want to do more to help others in the city. But they have found – as we did in our Recovery Capital project research – that people are reluctant to get involved in activities like this; they have preconceived ideas of people sitting around in a circle and talking about their addiction generated by years of myths, few opportunities available in the past and the media representation of recovery support groups.

So together we made a short film to tell people about FREE - which stands for Free Recovery for Everyone Everywhere - and what to expect if you attend and the impact it has had on their recovery.

I hope you'll agree they've done a great job!

You can find out about when and where the group meets by visiting the Citizen Power website or contacting


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