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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Cumbrian lifeline charity running out of cash

A lifeline project that helps children as young as 11 who have been affected by their parents’ drinking will run out of cash in September.

Cumbria Drug & Alcohol Services (Cadas) is poised to celebrate 35 years since its launch but one of the charity’s flagship projects – working with people aged 11 to 16 – looks likely to fold because of a lack of funding.

The service, which also works in schools and colleges offering support and advice to young people about the perils of drink and drugs, is coming to the end of a three-year block of funding. Last year, 85 young people were referred to it for help, including some as young as 11 who were affected by the drinking of their parents.

Helen Davies, from Cadas, said: “This is definitely an area where there is a bit of a gap in support, but unfortunately the funding runs out at the end of September. We had funding from Comic Relief. Part of the service has been to deliver education in schools and youth groups and young people may end up coming here through their schools, or an organisation like Young Carers.

“They can be living with the stress of not knowing if they’re going to come home to find their parents already drunk; or they may be concerned about them collapsing, or falling asleep. Or drinking may be causing arguments in the home.”

Older teenagers and young people often refer themselves to the charity because they are concerned about their own drinking, said Helen.

The charity is carrying out a survey which seems to suggest the UK's economic downturn may have been fuelling higher levels of drinking as people seek to drown their sorrows.

Low self-esteem and poverty are cited as the main reasons for overindulging.

Tomorrow, Cadas will celebrate its 35th anniversary by staging an all-day training event at Newton Rigg College near Penrith with four workshops. They will be on “tapping”, a kind of needle free acupuncture that can help reduce anxiety and drug cravings; mindfulness, which utilises meditation techniques; attachment and relationships; and a singing workshop, which can help with breathing techniques and relaxation.

The keynote speaker for the day will be the respected academic and former social worker Sarah Galvani, who has worked in the area of mental health, domestic violence, and the impact of drug and alcohol use on families. There will also be a celebratory lunch.

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