Councillors join sleep out event for charity

Councillors joined a sleep out event over the weekend to raise awareness and funds for an addiction support charity.

Participants of the sleep out event
Participants of the sleep out event

Lichfield District Council leader Doug Pullen and Staffordshire county councillor Tom Loughbrough-Rudd took part in the event, which was held in the car park of Better Way Recovery in Lichfield on Saturday, July 23.

Councillor Loughborough-Rudd said he was motivated to support the event as he’d received help from the charity himself.

He said: “I went there in a personal capacity, I was a fellow addict and they helped save my life.

“We stayed out all night in the rain.”

He said he felt the service should be available across the county, and that he’d be pleased to see it supported more widely.

“It’s a direct service people can go to if they have addiction problems, with people they can talk to.

“It’s all about helping support people who have problems, I think it’s vitally needed and I think it’s a wonderful initiative.”

The charity’s founder, Peter Griffith, is also a recovering addict, and spent time in rehab following a suicide attempt in 2016.

When he came out of rehab he decided to help others, and began taking on outreach work.

He was motivated to set up the charity after a phone call from a local police officer, who’d asked him to talk to someone who needed support.

Mr Griffith realised there was a need for the service, and set about forming the charity.

He said: “A lot of the outreach I’d done was in Lichfield. It was blatantly obvious that for people in that area there was nowhere for them to go.

“Still to this day they have to travel to Tamworth for any kind of support for their drug or alcohol addiction.”

Staff and volunteers at Better Way Recovery don’t have formal qualifications, but they can offer guidance and signpost people to other services if necessary.

Mr Griffith said: “We’re not qualified, we’re not psychiatrists or counsellors, but we’re all experts through our own experience.

“The majority of people who work here or volunteer here have lived experience of addiction recovery.”

He added that the pandemic had brought about an even greater need to support addicts.

“The caseload of local drug services went up 500 per cent over the pandemic, and the majority of that was alcohol – because of people staying at home more.

“We’ll help anyone – people who are trying to get into recovery, people who’ve just come out of rehab, people who’ve relapsed and are struggling.

“We’ll help anyone on their journey, wherever they’re at – it doesn’t matter what drug it is.”

Better Way Recovery opened its doors in late November 2021 after securing lottery funding, and has already received more than 130 self-referrals and supported over 60 people in family group sessions.

Mr Griffith said: “It’s taken off more than anything I could’ve imagined – I just wanted somewhere safe for people to go.

“And now Tamworth have approached us to start something over there as well. People are embracing it.”

In total, about 75 people supported the event on Saturday – which also included a barbecue and karaoke in the afternoon.

Around 20 people stayed for the sleep out, and the event is estimated to have raised more than £5,000 once all sponsorship money is brought in.

The charity is now hoping to secure a three-year funding grant from the lottery to continue its services.

For more information about Better Way Recovery, visit

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