AN ADDICTION and substance abuse support charity has been awarded more than £230,000 in Big Lottery funding.

Swindon and Wiltshire Alcohol and Drug Service (SWADS), which is based in Milton Road, applied for the grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities fund and on Tuesday the organisation announced that SWADS would receive £231,189 over the next three years.

SWADS will put the money towards expanding its creative therapy projects – Music Line and Art Line.

SWADS director Chris Stickler said: “We are really, really pleased.

“We applied for the grant and we found out some time ago but weren’t allowed to tell anyone for some time.

“At the moment our Art-Line and Music-Line projects only run three days in a week, but the extra money over the next three years will mean we can expand it to five days a week from January.

“Some of the people who run the groups have worked tirelessly for seven years or so and I know they’ve really wanted to expand, so the extra money is great news for staff as well as the recipients of the services.”

As part of the expansion of the project a recording studio will be refurbished to enable Music Line participants to get fully involved in all aspects of writing and recording music.

Each year SWADS supports about 250 people with alcohol and substance addiction issues by supporting their recovery and trying to prevent relapses.

Art-Line and Music-Line act as alternative outlets for substance abusers to focus their energies, and provide activities such as drawing, painting, textiles and group music sessions in a non-judgemental atmosphere.

Chris said: “When people are in addiction that is their life.

“It takes up all their time and when they are in recovery it helps to have something to replace it with.

“The projects also help them to deliver other skills. Like music it’s numerical. When they write songs about their addiction or their experiences they are using literacy.

“And it’s the same with art. On top of that they have a creative end product as well, which also aids their recovery.”

The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing 40 per cent of the money raised by the National Lottery.

It is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and regularly gives grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since it was founded in 2004 it has awarded close to £6bn in grants.

For more information about the Big Lottery Fund visit www.big

People with addictions can be referred to SWADS through treatment centres such as CRI Swindon, and Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.

  • To find out more about SWADS, or to seek their help, call 01793 695405 or visit the website