SUBSTANCE abuse charity Pen Yr Enfys has introduced new group counselling activities at its Vale of Glamorgan Advice Centre in Barry.
The idea has come as part of a push by Jeff Clarke – alcohol advice and development worker for the centre – to publicise the facility on Holton Road.
Jeff, who has been heading up the charity’s Barry office for two months, said: "The Vale service was set up four years ago, but hasn’t really taken off.
"It’s very limited at the moment client-wise, so in response to this we’ve set up some new group activities.
"Obviously these are available free of charge to anyone having issues with alcohol or drugs."
Until now the centre has only offered counselling on a one-to-one basis, where clients set themselves targets for dealing with the problems and are provided with support and advice to help them towards achieving their goals.
The new group-based activities will include yoga, reiki, acupuncture, women’s beauty, men’s health, and social sessions – and Jeff says he hopes they will provide those having problems with alcohol an alternative to hours in the pub or drinking at home.
"There’s a lot more stigma around alcohol abuse than people realise," he said.
"It’s not just people you see hanging around bus shelters and pubs, but some people come home from work and have a bottle of wine to themselves every night.
"It’s going to be an increasing problem with what's going on currently – the recession, oral cancer, and the fact that booze is so cheap in the supermarkets these days," he added.
"This service is going to become ever more important."
The Advice Centre, which is based at 46a Holton Road, offers a free service and is currently open from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday-Friday.
Jeff says that people seeking help or advice for alcohol or drug related issues can just walk straight in, or contact the office on 01446 743607.
The centre is soon to undergo some major changes, by making the office area more informal and relaxed, and changing access to the building to the rear – providing clients with a more private stairway to the first-floor facility.
For more information visit www.penyrenfys.org or email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also ring the centre on 01446 743607 or visit during opening hours.