Journeys of recovery

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A team of cyclists made up of staff from Humankind’s services across the country completed an epic 170-mile Ride for Recovery from Manchester to Middlesbrough. They take us through their journey. Read the full article in DDN Magazine.

Cyclists set off from Manchester

The Ride for Recovery aimed to highlight the many ways to achieve recovery from substance misuse, and to raise money for people who use Humankind services. It was also timed to arrive for the start of the FAVOR UK Recovery Walk in Middlesbrough.

The cyclists were volunteers from services in Manchester, Leeds, London, Halifax and the head office in Newton Aycliffe, and called in at Humankind-led drug and alcohol recovery services along the way. ‘Humankind is a major sponsor of the FAVOR UK Recovery Walk this year,’ said chief executive officer Paul Townsley, who was among the cyclists. ‘We wanted to show our support for this cause with this Ride for Recovery. Raising money and awareness to improve the lives of our service users will demonstrate that.’

Day one was the 43-mile journey from Manchester to Leeds. The riders were seen off by staff and residents at Redbank Recovery Accommodation, who had even baked them food for the trip. Area manager for Humankind’s North West services, Helen Hubberstey, was among those turning out to wish the cyclists well. ‘I think it’s really important we get behind causes like this to demonstrate our commitment to recovery and the journey that our residents are on,’ she said, while cyclist Rhian James from Humankind’s Manchester office said that ‘having people supporting us like this makes us feel it’s all worthwhile’.

The cyclists travelled via Humankind-led services at Calderdale Recovery Steps and 5 WAYS, the recovery hub that forms part of Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug service. The members of 5 WAYS, who are all in recovery themselves, were there to greet the riders on arrival with balloons, bunting and a home-made welcome flag. ‘It was amazing to see what the cyclists have achieved so far,’ said 5 WAYS member Stacey Vickers. ‘It made me want to get on my bike and be a part of it next year. The riders created such a brilliant atmosphere.’

‘Today has been a real struggle though hill climbs, cobbles and bad weather,’ said cyclist Claire Burns from Humankind’s HR team when she arrived. ‘But the reception we’ve been given at 5 WAYS is just amazing. Everyone has given us such a warm welcome and it was just the tonic we needed after such a long ride’. Senior practitioner at 5 WAYS Helen Mason added that the community ‘loved having them here’.

Day two was the 53-mile journey from Leeds to Northallerton, with the riders stopping off at the Headingley cricket ground before cycling via Ripon to North Yorkshire Horizons’ Northallerton hub. ‘North Yorkshire Horizons wishes all the very best to everyone taking part in the Ride for Recovery, raising money and awareness to improve the lives of our service users who we support on a daily basis,’ said Humankind assistant director Mark Vidgen.

Day three saw the team riding out of Yorkshire and into the North East for the 34-mile trip from Northallerton to Bishop Auckland. ‘It was an honour to host this event,’ said project manager at County Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service, Bob Smith. ‘It gave us a chance to showcase the progress being made in County Durham, and highlight the hard work from service users, staff and volunteers which is showing definite results in advocating real recovery in individuals.’

Humankind CEO Paul Townsley
Humankind CEO Paul Townsley

The final day was the 36-mile stretch from Bishop Auckland to Middlesbrough, with the cyclists arriving in time for the 2019 Recovery Walk.

‘The ride has been brilliant, bringing a group of staff together from different services with one aim,’ said Paul Townsley. ‘It’s been great for us all to learn about what is going on at the drug and alcohol services that we have visited along the way, and to get to chat with staff and service users.’

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