This Recovery Month marks the start of a new partnership for Cyrenians as we welcome Edinburgh Recovery Activities (ERA) into our programme of projects. Since April 2019, ERA has been a vital and supportive space for the recovery community in Edinburgh, and Cyrenians is delighted to be part of delivering that going forwards.
Established by members of the recovery community following the closure of the Serenity Café, ERA is a project set up to provide fulfilling and enjoyable community experiences and support for individuals and families. It provides a vital community space run by and for those in recovery, offering trips, fun evenings, support groups, meet-ups, trainings and more, built with the specific needs of the recovery community in mind.
Community is one of the most important factors for those in recovery. Sharing wins, positive outcomes, information and advice is a hugely important resource for recovery and resilience. Being able to be vulnerable and honest, and to share feelings, fears, and concerns with others who have experienced similar things, is equally vital. When people are in recovery, they can often find themselves isolated right when they most need care and support - working actively to connect people with supportive communities can really people help maintain the stability, support and energy to get through both easy and hard moments in their recovery journey.
Regardless of background or personal history, the recovery community continue to support each other in the most admirable and inspirational way. This community and peer support became so evident during lockdown and part of the reason why ERA was able to keep hosting supportive networks and conversations. During lockdown, as well as organising online events, ERA ran a Keep Connected fund, helping cover costs of devices and data so that people were able to stay connected and supported regardless of circumstances. One person involved in the programme said,
'Whilst everyone else's world seemed to be getting smaller, my world grew'.
ERA provides a positive community where people throughout their recovery journey can acknowledge and speak freely about their experiences without being thrown back into unsupported, triggering situations or being surrounded by people using drugs or alcohol. This kind of consistent, non-judgemental support and community can be a huge part of helping people get through difficult times in their recovery. One ERA community member said,
“In my darkest moments it was ERA that helped me cope through personal contact and a range of activities. I always knew there was someone to support me when things became overwhelming.”
By building recovery-specific community spaces, ERA is able to combat common barriers to recovery and provide ongoing, far-reaching support - people can take part in ERA events at any stage in their recovery journey, and build relationships that support them not only with the day-to-day challenges of recovery, but all the other challenges and joys of life.
The goal of ERA is to develop recovery capital through peer support, community networks and meaningful activities among those in recovery in Edinburgh, informed by lived experience. From September 2021 on, Cyrenians is taking over the partnership with ERA from EVOC in order to provide ongoing support and resources. ERA's Senior Development Officer, Mick McCarron, said,
“Cyrenian's support for ERA will be pivotal in our plans for future development and support of the already thriving recovery community in Edinburgh. The vast knowledge and experience of the Cyrenians coupled with ERA's tenacity and passion will make for an exciting future for all involved.”
ERA joins a broad range of Cyrenians projects focused on tackling the underlying issues which contribute to homelessness and disproportionately affect those with experience of homelessness. Cyrenians is committed to addressing addiction, poor mental health and social isolation, meeting people where they are to build tailored, sustainable support systems.
Find out more about ERA and the activities and opportunities they have coming up on their Facebook page.