Introducing a new charity and programme to enable individuals recovering from alcoholism and/or other addictions to return to meaningful work and maintain long-term abstinence.
One in 25 people in the United Kingdom is now dependent on alcohol and one in 50 is addicted to drugs. In addition, one in every 20 is in some way indirectly affected by addiction. Research has shown that in order to maintain abstinence, the addicted person needs to recover from the syndrome of severe low self-esteem. A vital element in the recovery and relapse prevention of addicted people is to be gainfully employed.
EPRA (UK) has reached an agreement with EPRA (USA) to introduce a therapeutic and vocational rehabilitation programme in the United Kingdom. Over the past 20 years in New York, EPRA (USA) has served over 250 programme graduates every year and done much to transform the business community’s attitude towards the work potential of the recovering alcoholic or drug addict. Research studies demonstrate that EPRA’s unique three-phase treatment and training programme has helped course members to achieve a significant increase in terms of self-esteem and career maturity. After one year, 80% of graduates were still in the same job, and 95% maintained abstinence. In addition EPRA course members contribute valuable service to the community. In the USA, they have provided over 25,000 hours of voluntary service to the non-profit sector. David Dinkins former Mayor of New York, stated that "EPRA has provided a job training service which has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in New York".
EPRA (UK) has been set up with the committed aim to replicate the successful experience of EPRA (USA) in this country. EPRA (UK) has the full co-operation of the American counterparts, as well as the support of the School of Educational Studies at the University of Surrey in Guildford.
At the heart of the project is its 12-week rehabilitation and training course. EPRA will provide staff highly trained in counselling alcoholics and addicts and dealing with issues of self-esteem, anger, resentment and guilt, as well as staff concerned with helping course members look for gainful employment and establish a career. EPRA course members, prepared for meaningful work by the programme, will provide living proof that alcoholism and drug addiction is both treatable and beatable, and will thereby confront the stigma of alcoholism and drug addiction. The programme is structured for both alcoholics and addicts and is open to men and women of all ages and from any background.
EPRA (UK) ran its first course with 15 participants at the Guildford Institute of the University of Surrey, starting on 1st June 2000. It is the purpose of the charity to enable people to attend courses free of charge. During their work experience phase, course members will in turn put something back into the project, by working for voluntary organisations free of payment.
To fund its initial programme, EPRA (UK) raised £75,000. Two thirds of this sum went towards the actual costs of running the course, with the remainder needed for initial start-up expenses, equipment, the evaluation of the programme and the results of the pilot.