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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Celebrity patron ‘gutted’ over closure of Cumbrian drugs charity

Comedian Patrick Monahan has spoken of his shock after hearing that Cumbrian drug and alcohol charity the Rising Sun Trust is to close.

Patrick Monahan photo
Patrick Monahan

The stand-up star, who recently appeared on ITV show Splash, was among the high profile patrons of the charity, set up by Dave Smith in memory of his son.

After 15 years of using his family’s tragedy to help prevent other young people turning to substance misuse, the father announced this week that they are being forced to close for funding reasons.

After hearing the news, Patrick, who has supported the Rising Sun Trust for the past two years, said he was “shocked and gutted”.

He told the News & Star: “It’s such a surprise to hear because they were doing so well and had made a huge impact on the local teenagers.

“Their talks and work was going down well at the schools, but they said they couldn’t get vital funding to keep it going. It is such a shame and will no doubt leave a massive hole in the community from all the great work they were doing.”

The Rising Sun Trust was initially set up as a helpline but in recent years has focused on preventative work, going into schools across the whole of Cumbria to talk to children about the realities of drug and alcohol use.

But despite its success, the west Cumbrian-based charity said it had become increasingly difficult to obtain funding. As a result it has been forced to close permanently.

Clare Sinclair, services manager at the NHS-run drug and alcohol support recovery service Unity, which previously worked with the charity, was also sad to hear of its demise. She said: “We are saddened to learn that Rising Sun Trust will no longer be working in Cumbria. Though our working links concluded some time ago, the projects they worked on provided meaningful help to people in the area.”

But she stressed that although it will be a loss, help is still out there: “If anyone is struggling with the effects of alcohol or substance misuse, we would encourage them to visit one of our Unity centres for a non-judgmental, recovery focussed assessment with a service which is completely committed to maximising recovery options, including detox and harm reduction.

“People in west Cumbria can call the Whitehaven office on 01946 590024 or our Workington team on 01900 873791.”

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