New group offering specialist support to children and youngsters

Seagull Theatre Pakefield Lowestoft

The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield. - Credit: Seagull Theatre

A specialist support group is set to launch at a popular community theatre next month.

The new group, called Strive, has been established to support children and young people who have experienced challenging circumstances as a result of growing up around substance misuse issues and addiction.

Strive Seagull Theatre Pakefield

The new group, called Strive, has been established to support children and young people who have experienced challenging circumstances as a result of growing up around substance misuse issues and addiction. - Credit: Seagull Theatre

Working with specialist practitioner Lily Ayers, the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield has developed the group to fill a gap in the provision locally.

A spokesman for the theatre said: "Similar groups exist in Norfolk but Lowestoft does not have a specialist group for family members of those who fight addiction on a day-to-day basis."

Starting on November 3, Strive will operate every Wednesday night from 6pm – 7pm at the theatre.

The group will give children from families where there are addiction issues, the chance to meet, take part in positive arts-based activities and share their experiences.

Karen Read, theatre manager at The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft has been busy over lockdown and has

Karen Read, theatre manager at The Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, Lowestoft. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Seagull Theatre manager, Karen Read, said: “We know that struggling with an addiction is incredibly hard for anyone, and we are keen to try and support those families with this issue.

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"We are just a local theatre so don’t have the expertise to do this ourselves, but when we heard about the amazing work Lily has been involved with in Norfolk, we knew we wanted her to set up something similar here.

"Thankfully with the support of the National Lottery, we have been able to put together the funds to allow this project to run every week from November.”

Practitioner Lily Ayers said: “Addiction is still very much a taboo subject.

"My hope is that this project can help to break the idea that addiction within the family should be kept a secret and is something to be ashamed of.

"There is a lot of support available for the user but support for the affected others - especially children - is a lot harder to find.

"Young people in these situations are often isolated and their self-esteem suffers.

"I want this project to be a safe and confidential place where they can share their feelings with other young people who completely understand and not be fearful of being disloyal to their families - everyone needs to offload sometimes and it’s so important for children and young people to learn healthy coping strategies as to prevent them developing similar challenges themselves in the future.”

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