You do not have to use alcohol or drugs to be affected by them. Addictions affect families, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and communities. Shame, embarrassment, and stigmatisation can lead ‘affected others’ to conceal their situation from relatives and friends, leaving them feeling isolated and unable to talk to anyone about their problems.

We don’t know how many times we’ve heard this line from a client – we’ve lost count. “My Mum was drunk last night and threw me out of the house because she got annoyed with me”. Of course, it’s not always Mum, it could be Dad, wife, boyfriend or anyone who someone might live with. It’s not always alcohol either, drug abuse is extremely common.

So, we meet someone who is homeless because of alcohol or drugs, but it’s someone else’s substance issue which has led to their plight.

Assisting that person to rebuild the relationship could be futile, perhaps even dangerous for them, so what can we do?

Firstly, get them indoors so they’re safe. Each person’s needs will differ once indoors, but often we will refer them to our Freshfield Service. Freshfield offer counselling for those affected by alcohol or drugs, and they don’t have to be a user themselves. It’s sometimes possible we can help their relative. The possibility of them returning to a good, healthy, loving home at some point could then be on the cards. These situations are normally very complex though, take time to work through, and don’t always work out favourably.

The Freshfield service is not just for homeless clients and their relatives though, and there is no time-limit on how long someone can engage with it. In these senses it stands out. This is testament to the way Freshfield is funded. Most projects which rely on funding from the state, whether that be the NHS or central or local government are limited, either by who can be referred or by how many sessions a person is entitled to.

There will always be a raft of people though who don’t just want, but need a professional service by their side whose needs statutory services just cannot fulfil. That’s where Freshfield comes in. Because it is funded through charitable fundraising, including the National Lottery Community Fund, it is able to support individuals and families through some really difficult times and improve outcomes for them in a bespoke way.

The first point of contact is through the telephone helpline, people can continue to interact through this, or they can receive one to one counselling from Freshfield’s specialist counsellors.

Freshfield’s helpline worker, Stephen Pickett spoke to a beneficiary very recently after many years of supporting her, and her son, through his mental health and substance misuse problems. She stated that, 

You have given me so much support and advice over the years, but more importantly than that, you have been a constant witness to my journey, and as such I have never felt alone.”

We believe that Freshfield delivers a unique and necessary service in Cornwall which helps people through some of the most difficult and often prolonged situations that life can throw at us.

The Freshfield Service runs a Telephone Helpline and provides an opportunity to talk to someone in confidence.

The Helpline (01872 241952) is open from Monday to Wednesday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Find