Recovery village to help people struggling with drug use planned for Dundee

Homeless charity Social Bite will provide 15 homes and a community hub with dining areas, gym facilities and a counselling room.

A £2m village to help people ‘break the cycle’ of drug use is to be built in Dundee.

Homeless charity Social Bite will provide 15 homes and a community hub, where those who can’t afford residential rehab will be supported into recovery.

It’s hoped it’ll help tackle the city’s deep-rooted problem with drugs.

Expert treatment will be offered by addiction charity We Are With You.

Residents will be offered stays in three-month blocks and given help to find permanent accommodation.

There will be communal dining areas and gym facilities as well as counselling rooms.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said: “We all know the problem with drug deaths in Scotland and Dundee over the years.

“The human toll is profound. Behind each statistic lies individual and familial suffering, with communities losing loved ones.

“Deprivation exacerbates the crisis, with those in the poorest areas 16 times more likely to die from drug misuse.

Social Bite founder Joshua Littlejohn

“The recovery village will help people on their journey towards recovery by providing a safe and rehabilitative living environment and expert support.

“”We are delighted to see that the city is taking the international lead on what could become a pioneering model for tackling addiction amongst vulnerable people.”

The village will be named after the late Dundee businessman Bill Sword.

The WM Sword Charitable Trust he set up in 1999 has donated £1.5m to fund the village.

As well as donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to local charities, it was Bill’s dream that he would be able to bring about change on a larger scale in the city.

Following his death in 2014, the Trust made it their mission to realise his dream and were impressed with Social Bite’s village in the Granton area of Edinburgh.

Late Dundee businessman Bill Sword with his wife Betty

Lynne Henderson, Bill’s daughter and trustee of the WM Sword Charitable Trust, said: “The recovery village is a fantastic idea and the ambition and vision is something that we know the city will get behind and become proud of as it gets up and running.

“My father was incredibly proud of Dundee and he would have been delighted to know that the fruits of his many businesses were now going to help Dundonians at their time of greatest need.

“He was a justice of the peace and then became an honorary sheriff and he had a real empathy for the people driven to circumstances outwith the law just because of their own circumstances.

“To see his money being used in this way is such a fitting tribute to him and it’s solving a real need in Dundee. Dundee has a crisis going on, as do many other cities sadly, and this is a way which is a really creative way to address the issue and hopefully change the lives of many people.”

The Insights Foundation is also backing the project with £100,000 of support.

Andy Lothian, chief executive of the Insights Group, said: “The Insights Foundation are thrilled to support this this vital initiative to create a world leading recovery facility for vulnerable people in our home city, and I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

In Scotland last year, 1,051 drug-related deaths were recorded – nearly three per day, which was the highest rate in Europe and triple the rate of the next worst affected country. Dundee had marginally fewer drug deaths than Glasgow.

Social Bite is in discussion with Dundee City Council on a site for the project and expects to be able to submit a full planning application before the end of the year.

Social Bite has made eradicating homelessness in Scotland a goal and has worked with international celebrities including George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Prince and Princess of Wales to highlight the work of its cafes and the Edinburgh homeless village.

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