Saturday, 17 September 2011


We walk through many doors throughout life; for some leading to positive experiences, but for others leading to a life of self destruction.

Stafell Fyw Caerdydd-Living Room Cardiff opened its doors for the first time today Thursday 8th September. This new charity, set up by the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs (WCAOD), aims to offer support for anyone experiencing difficulties in relation to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit) or any other dependency or harmful behaviour.

The Living Room Cardiff Concept (LRC), as it’s referred to, is like no other rehabilitation service currently offered in Wales. The community based day-care Recovery Centre will provide a safe, easy access, non-judgemental space offering a range of interventions including peer-based individual and group psychosocial support.

Says Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, who has set up and will be running the Centre,“The recovery model differs from the medical (treatment) model, in that it emphasises the empowerment of the person, building on their strengths and assets, rather than focusing on weaknesses and deficits. Also significant is peer based support and the involvement of family members and friends in helping persons to build meaningful and valued lives, realise their aspirations and contribute positively to society.

“Regardless of which model or methods are used to ‘treat’ addiction problems, which is a chronic condition, it is important they are supported through the change process and provided with ongoing ‘after-care’ support, as without this essential element, people are prone to relapse.

“Stafell Fyw Caerdydd-Living Room Cardiff aims to work alongside other service providers in the area and, through the Recovery Centre, will be offering this additional and complementary ongoing support for people wanting to make positive life changes.”

The model which is being applied here in Wales is influenced by Wynford Ellis Owen’s 2010 Winston Churchill Fellowship research trip in the eastern states of America. As part of the tour, Wynford visited a number of new recovery community centres that have achieved long-term recovery from server alcohol and drug-related problems.

Continues Wynford, “Following the research project in America and having visited numerous centres throughout the UK, it became apparent to me that the only effective way of helping these people was to put them in the driving seat and encourage them to take charge of their own recovery journeys. We as practitioners were always in the driving seat of addiction treatment. Now however, we must learn from the US model and take a back seat.

Wynford went on, “If addiction treatment is to enhance its ability to support long term personal and family recovery it is essential that we make the philosophical shift from the acute care model to a recovery model. Without partnering with and standing beside the person who is going through the process then we cannot possibly provide the support that’s necessary to maintain long-term recovery.”

Wynford, who lived at the hand of addiction of alcohol and drugs for 23 years, began his journey of recovery back in 1992, “When I began to recover and live my life without recourse to drugs and alcohol, it stood out to me that the facilities I needed at the time to make a successful recovery were lacking. Sometime after I started on the road to recovery, I resolved to set up a recovery and day-care centre so that people, like me, who needed to abstain from drink and drugs, while confronting the burden of being human, could receive the support they needed on their doorstep here in Cardiff.”

Carl Sergeant, The Minister for Local Government and Communities said. “The Welsh Government has previously outlined its commitment to further expand the services available to help and support substance misusers to maintain their recovery through its 10 year Substance Misuse Strategy, Working Together to Reduce Harm. The Living Room, Cardiff provides recovering service users with opportunities to help rebuild their lives and to protect and support individuals from relapse after they leave structured treatment.”

To mark the opening of the centre, and raise awareness of addiction in Wales; Wales’ first ever Welsh National Recovery Walk will take place on Saturday 10th September. The UK Recovery Walk is supported by the UK Recovery Federation, the Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff Council. It is sponsored by Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI), Western Power Distribution (WPD), Voluntary Action Cardiff and M&D Care Ltd and it is going to be a day of celebration and inspiration, putting positive ‘faces and voices’ to recovery and becoming worthy advocates for the attractive reality of recovery.

Around 2,000 people are expect to parade around Cardiff City Centre to celebrate the fact people can, and do, recover from substance use disorders and mental health problems. To show support and sign up visit:

Leading up to the launch of LRC a new advert will appear on TV channels and in local cinemas promoting the new centre. A preview of the advert as well as further information about Stafell Fyw Caerdydd-Living Room Cardiff can be seen on: