Drugs charity’s helpline bids to boost its service
Published at 01:00, Friday, 29 April 2005
THE RISING Sun Trust is spreading its light on more drug addicts and their families than ever before.
The charity, born out of the tragedy of a child’s death, is desperate for new volunteers, especially for its helpline, Signpost.
The charity has moved from its Washington Street, Workington, premises to new, larger offices at the corner of Gordon and Fisher Street.
Last week, it also opened a new outreach centre in Whitehaven and still runs one in Maryport.
Dave Smith, of Greysouthen, set up the Rising Sun Trust after his teenage son Ryan became addicted to drugs and eventually died in a Liverpool hostel in 1999.
Ironically, at the time of his death Ryan was clean. No traces of drugs of alcohol were found in his body and his death was found to be due to the fact that he had choked on his own vomit.
Mr Smith said setting up the trust was his way of coping. He wanted to ensure that nobody else went through the pain that Ryan’s family had gone through.
The Rising Sun charity’s main concern is dealing with the families and friends of addicts as well as the addicts themselves.
Mr Smith, who spends much of his time speaking to schools and young people about his family’s own experiences, said the family was sometimes overlooked.
It is dealing with its own issues, its helplessness in the face of addiction, guilt about how or why a family member had become addicted and the mixture of love and anger that they can feel towards the addict.
He said: “There are ripples that go out from the drug addict, the parents, partners, siblings, the grandparents, they all suffer to some degree.”
He said nothing could ever fill the gap that Ryan’s death had left in his family but the trust had helped him to deal with it.
The Rising Sun Trust was named because of a glass picture Ryan did for his father just before his death, because Rising Sun has the same initials as Ryan Smith, and because the rising sun symbolises the beginning of a new day.
The trust attempts to work without an appointment system and when someone rings it tries to ensure there is someone to give answers and help straight away.
Last year, it was revealed that West Cumbria had one of the worst drug-death records in the county.
With 7.73 deaths per 100,000 population, it is up there with inner-cities like Manchester and sections of London.
Since the closure of the Turning Point day-care centre in June last year, the Rising Sun Trust had been even busier, Mr Smith said.
What started off as a charity operating from the bedroom of his Greysouthen home is now a project which has offered help and hope to hundreds over the years. The trust employs Janette Harrop, also of Greysouthen, as volunteer co-ordinator, helpline manager and administrator and Val Fearon as manager of the outreach groups.
But Mr Smith said volunteers were desperately needed now to enable the trust to meet its growing commitments.
Anyone interested in helping or making a donation can contact the trust on 01900 870034 or by visiting its Fisher Street office.
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk