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Fresh new look for in-demand charity

PUBLISHED: 12:43 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 11 May 2010

A CHARITY which helps people with drug, alcohol and gambling problems has told how it has seen massive rises in the number of people needing help.

Norcas, East Anglia's leading independent provider of services for those who misuse drugs, alcohol and gambling, has seen referrals for some services increase by more than 50pc.

A CHARITY which helps people with drug, alcohol and gambling problems has told how it has seen massive rises in the number of people needing help.

Norcas, East Anglia's leading independent provider of services for those who misuse drugs, alcohol and gambling, has seen referrals for some services increase by more than 50pc.

Compared to 2008, Norcas has seen its referrals in Norfolk rise by 30pc for drug abuse and 34pc for alcohol misuse. The picture is even more pronounced in Suffolk, where drug referrals are up by 50pc and alcohol referrals by a staggering 63pc.

This week the charity is relaunched with a fresh new look and website, in a bid to raise the profile of the help it offers and ensure it is well-placed to survive the coming years.

Norcas offers a range of services from one-to-one counselling, to support for families, complementary therapies and official criminal justice drug and alcohol programmes.

Chief executive Maggie Williams said: “We have seen an increase in self-referrals, which is good, and a big spark in criminal justice referrals too, which is fine if it's well resourced. In both Norfolk and Suffolk we have seen an increase in referrals for alcohol and drugs.

“It's too early to say this is because of the recession but you would expect people to turn more to these things that help them when times are hard, and alcohol and drugs are so cheap to get hold of.”

Changes to the way that charitable funding is allocated via European Union procurement means in the future the charity will have to compete to just keep its existing services.

The charity has appointed a new fundraising manager to help boost its income, 94pc of which currently comes from statutory funding.

Norcas chairman Andy Wood, who is also managing director of Adnams brewery, in Southwold, said: “It's a perilous situation with public finances at the moment and the board of trustees are acutely aware of the threats that are out there. However, we are a committed team, have a great brand and most importantly we make a real difference to people's lives.”

The newly relaunched website of Norcas can be seen at www.norcas.co.uk

Norcas services in the Lowestoft area are run from its base in Regent Road. Call 01502 513444, email lowestoft@norcas.org.uk or youth@norcas.org.uk for its youth services.

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