Rehabilitation is key at the Ley Community, a non-profit charity dedicated to transforming the lives of those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.
It’s a chance to start again for those who undergo the challenging program aimed at breaking entrenched, self-destructive habits and beliefs.
Residents who experience the innovative recovery programme benefit from the provision of a safe, therapeutic space which allows them to explore their problems in a new way and learn a range of new skills.
Armed with creative ways of living, relating and dealing with their addiction, Ley Community graduates are granted the joy of a fresh start.
We spoke with the Ley Community’s Business Development Officer, Kirstie Fensom, who has lived in Chippy for the last 10 years.
How long has Yarnton’s Ley Community been around?
The Ley Community was founded in 1971 and provides an abstinence-based, peer driven residential rehabilitation recovery programme for men and women with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol including ‘legal highs,’ and prolific offenders with an addictions history.
Can you tell us about your role there?
Since October 2016, I have been fortunate to work as the Business Officer at The Ley Community. My role concentrates on identifying new relationships with local businesses and nurturing existing connections.
One for example is Allen Associates, a leading Oxfordshire recruitment agency helping our ex-residents find work after successfully completing our programme.
I use social media to promote Ley ventures, and I’m planning to get more involved in networking activities in the future. I’m also involved in our monthly Ley Lectures, inspirational talks primarily for residents, presented by fully recovered residents who are now leading a healthy, fulfilling life.
What does the Ley Community offer those who stay there?
Our recovery programme enables clients to change their lives by giving them the tools to beat their addiction/s and integrate them into society to live a new ‘clean’ life with secure employment & a social network.
They do this by acquiring new skills, improving confidence and self-esteem, developing self-worth, self-confidence, improved social skills and work readiness.
Our aim is for everyone to leave with a job, a home and a new social network.
Is the Ley Community a charity?
Yes, Ley is a charity, a not-for-profit venture offering residential recovery and rehabilitation. We accept both state funded and private clients.
What are the Ley Community graduation rings?
The Ley Community’s annual Ring Graduation Ceremony is attended by families, friends and supporters of the community. It involves graduates sharing their life stories and provide moving accounts of their journey from addiction to recovery, also what it means to them to be able to make a fresh start.
Each graduate is presented with a certificate and silver ring as a symbol of what they have been through, and how much they have achieved – which is incredibly admirable.
Why are people so reluctant to talk about addiction?
Unfortunately, drugs and alcoholism still have a great stigma attached to them, however they are very common issues which affect people from all walks of life and all incomes.
I personally feel that people in rehabilitation should be admired for attempting to change their lives around and breaking self-destructive habits which many have had for many years.
It takes extraordinary courage for people to face their addiction head-on and really try to turn their life around.
I love this quote from a character in ‘Rehab’, a BBC drama centred on a Ley Community resident.
“These are some of the strongest people you’ll ever meet. This is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. We can all learn from them.”
What message do you have for people dealing with addiction issues?
If you have a friend or relative struggling with addiction, we are here to help change not only their lives but also the lives of their loved ones who suffer as a result of their dependence on drugs or alcohol.
How is life in Chippy for you?
Living in Chippy and working for the Ley Community nearby offers me the best of both worlds, and a great balance between work and home life.
In August 2017, my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary of living in Chipping Norton. Where on earth has the time gone?
What were your first impressions of Chippy?
On moving into our cosy, Grade II listed property in West Street 2007, we anticipated life in this quintessential ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’ market town to be full of community spirit, and we were not disappointed. Plants, cards and flowers arrived sooner than we had unpacked the kettle!
When we took our first walk around town, we couldn’t decide where to eat.
As we approached the town hall, being a bit of a history nerd, I stopped to read the epitaph on a grand pillar and the enticing smell of fish and chips wafted past us. Following our noses down New Street, we quickly located one of our local Chippy chippies!
Standing on small boxes in our new home, we stared out of our top window and watched the sun setting over the fantastic view of the surrounding fields, with Bliss Mill standing proud in the distance – a perfect introduction to our new life.
And we’ve never really looked back. Ten years later we’re still enjoying the town’s wonderful community spirit and amenities, especially the theatre with its cinema, art gallery and adult drama classes which I attend.
How can people get involved with the Ley Community?
We’d love to hear from you if you want to participate in any of the following ways:
- Volunteer your time.
- Make a donation.
- Help us fundraise.
- Attend one of our Ley Lectures.
- Take part in our addiction recovery programme.