Support service helps Lincoln alcoholics off the street

Residents of the first pilot alcohol accommodation centre in Lincoln are highlighting the positive impact the facility is having on their lives.

The charity-led alcohol support service held an open morning on Tuesday, February 18 and recovering residents spoke to The Lincolnite about their journeys.

The Corner House, between Friars Lane and St Rumbold Street, opened on November 10, 2014, and provides supported accommodation for homeless people with chronic alcohol dependencies.

Since opening, the service has housed 15 residents – many of whom were living on the streets of Lincoln before then.

Residents are closely monitored and supervised to ensure compliance to stick residency rules, and the building is staffed 24 hours a day.

All residents are also expected to take part in a minimum of 16 hours of structured activity per week as a therapeutic tool and diversion from alcohol.

This includes training in new skills, or taking part in a range of complimentary therapies.

Mandi Pusey, a resident at The Corner House. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Mandi Pusey, a resident at The Corner House. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

One of the residents is Lincoln-born mother Mandi Pusey, 42.

Mandy, an ex-forces wife, returned to Lincoln after her marriage failed due to her alcoholism.

At the height of her addiction, she used to drink two bottles of vodka a day, and described herself as an ’embarrassment’.

With nowhere to go, and no support forthcoming, Mandi ended up on the streets of Lincoln, where she remained for seven years.

She said: “Never in a million years did I feel I would be able to access such a fantastic facility as The Corner House.

“I was very reticent at first – I felt there was no point, they wouldn’t accept me, I’d go through the usual process and get a ‘no’ at the end of it.

“But I was talked into it and I self-referred. For the first time in years I was honest about by alcoholism.

“There was every incentive for me to do something about it before it became far too late.”

Stuart Wilson, a resident at The Corner House. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Stuart Wilson, a resident at The Corner House. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Another resident is Stuart Wilson, 44, who has been an alcoholic for most of his adult life, and drank over five litres of sherry every day when he was at his worst.

He said: “I got released from jail after serving nine months for affray in December and I was back on the streets again with nowhere to live.

“I’ve always turned to drink – sometimes I can stay off it for a period of time but then something flares up and I deal with it in the wrong way.

“When I first started drinking, it gave me false confidence. If I needed to go out, I’d have a drink beforehand but then it spiralled out of control and became an addiction that I couldn’t shake off.

“I’ve been here about five weeks now and it’s been fantastic for me.”

Corner House Manager Sandra Blow. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Corner House Manager Sandra Blow. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Corner House Manager Sandra Blow said: “I am very proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time and I am thrilled to have been able to share some of our success with other members of our community.”

The Corner House is operated by Framework in partnership with Public Health Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, as well as the charity Addaction.

Framework is a charity and housing association helping more than 11,000 people a year. For more information on the help available, visit the website here.