Bristol’s Recovery Festival is moving into the community for the first time in a bid to break down barriers.
The annual event that showcases and celebrates the achievements of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction will be held in St Agnes Church and park in St Paul’s from midday to 6pm on Friday, September 1.
“By holding it in the heart of St Paul’s community, we are hoping to demystify what it’s like being in recovery,” says one of the organisers, Emmie Davies.
“For us, it’s about breaking down barriers and building relationships with the wider community and providing Bristol with another unique, ground-breaking event.”
Sarah, who is playing a key role in the festival, has spoken out about her own journey through recovery.
“I was an intravenous heroine and crack user for about 20 years and I held down jobs during that time but it got to the point where it was totally unmanageable,” she says.
“I ended up in a treatment centre and then moved to Weston. I knew a bit about recovery and I knew this was something I was going to have to dedicate my life to. So that’s what I did and I got involved with lots of community projects.
“Ideal community action group were great for getting me to remember what I loved which was very much the creative industries. The awful thing about getting clean and sober was that I knew I could do all those things on drugs, but I had lost my confidence to do them sober.”
Sarah says work with Art for Change helped her gradually build her confidence back up.
She will be running the Art for Change workshop in the festival, where people will be asked to help create a mosaic by writing words describing how they feel about their recovery on tiles that will build a big conversation piece.
“We realised the important part that art can play in recovery and in people being able to express themselves,” continues Sarah.
“We were really aware putting on this year’s festival of the different approaches to recovery and it’s about bringing all those different people and different ideas and shapes of recovery together.”
See some of the work Art for Change has done with St Mungo’s in Bristol:
Now in its fifth year, Bristol’s Recovery Festival is organised by a group of individuals from the recovery community and allied organisations.
Music, entertainment, motivational talks and art will fill the venue and people sharing their recovery experiences will seek to act as a visible inspiration to others, dispel the myths around treatment and recovery, while celebrating the determination and talents of many individuals.
Peer-led communities and alcohol and drug treatment organisations will be there in to give support and celebrate the year’s achievements.
Everyone is welcome to attend what promises to be a fun, community, family-friendly festival
Paul Moores, a mutual aid and recovery champion, says: “The Recovery Festival celebrates the journeys and achievements of those who don’t often get the opportunity to shout about how far they have come.
“Bringing People together for the festival is an opportunity for those in recovery to do just that, inspiring others to start their own journey in the process.”
Read more: ‘I found my people, I found my solution’