Lancaster drug and alcohol support group up for national award

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An organisation which supports vulnerable people with drug and alcohol problems could receive its first award just 17 months after launching.

Strawberry Fields Training, based in Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, has been shortlisted in the ‘best start-up’ category at the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2013.

The not-for-profit enterprise, established in April 2012, will find out whether it is successful at a ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel, London, on Thursday (September 26).

“To be nominated, or even shortlisted out of thousands, is impressive but a little scary!” said director Paul Ireland.

“We had a target of 75 people to work with and we have just passed 200. There is a growing demand for our services.”

The organisation provides specialised training, support, information and advice to young people and vulnerable adults, including the unemployed and ex-offenders, to help them become active community members and improve their quality of life.

The support includes sessions to improve career prospects, self-esteem, confidence, self-awareness and anger management and visits to rehab units at prisons such as Lancaster Farms.

The group is funded through grants from the public and private sectors, which help the team of 17 volunteers, two full-time and seven part-time employees deliver the mentoring programmes.

It was nominated for the accolade by a student training to become a social worker who visited as part of work experience.

The Third Sector Excellence Awards are open to charities, not-for-profit organisationss, social enterprises and campaigning groups.

To find out more about Strawberry Fields Training visit