For the Right Reasons

Posted by editor 03/10/2012 0 Comment 3252 views
Clients helping to build the drop-in centre.

Clients helping to build the drop-in centre.

By Jenny McBain

The Reverend Richard Burkitt is quite happy if people perceive him as being crazy. To him, Christianity is all about laying yourself on the line and helping people on the margins of society.

The Rev, as he is known, has co-founded For the Right Reasons,a social enterprise in Merkinch, a deprived area of Inverness in Scotland.  Half his salary is paid by the Scottish Episcopalian church but  a print works, a publishing house, a charity shop and a recycling centre generate considerable income. In fact from a monthly income of £13,000, £7,000 comes directly from enterprise activities, £5,000 comes from Big Lottery funding and £1,000 is donated money.

The whole aim of the organisation is to offer support to those battling drug or alcohol addiction, so the money funds outreach services.  But the social enterprise also offers recovering addicts a place to come and become part of a shared endeavour. Richard says, “It is all very informal. People can do as much or as little as they want. We also offer a sort of drop in service where folk can just stop by for a chat.”

Richard prefers enterprise to charity. He says: “If you run a charity people will give you money but you have to dance to their tune. We are happy to raise our own money and retain the freedom to speak up.”

Alice (53)

Heroin steals everything from you; it takes away your life. It took me over two years to detox completely. Then, I came in here one day by chance about three years ago to get something printed and got chatting to people.

I was still feeling fragile and had lost my confidence and sense of self esteem. It was really good to meet others who knew what I was going through. There is no hierarchy here. Everyone is treated the same and it is all quite informal. The Rev gets stressed out at times but we all love him.

Peer support is what really works for me. Social workers and counsellors get all their knowledge about addiction from text books. They have no clue about the true reality of things.

Coming here has given me regularity and a chance to do something constructive and fun. I now take a lead role in running the print office and I have just got a part time job with a national charity. I also plan to develop a career in photo art.

Ray Martin (50)

I have done a lot in my life. I’ve travelled widely and spent some time working on a Kibbutz in Israel when I was younger. Besides that, I have done a lot of boring jobs like working in a supermarket.

I ended up in Inverness last April following an argument with my ex partner. We had been living in Perth. At that point I was homeless and drinking around a litre and a half of vodka a night.

Now I do printing and design and bind books. Coming here has given me something to do and kept me away from feeling I needed a drink. Once you have done rehab you need something to do. Without that sense of purpose a lot of people will relapse.

I’ve been sober for 18 months now and being here has given me a stepping stone to other things. Now, I want to set up my own social enterprise running an art gallery and doing picture framing. It too, is going to be about helping people who are fighting addiction but it will be  a lot more organised than this operation.

What can you do? Consider using for the right reasons for all your printing and publishing requirements.

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