What does Norfolk’s Hebron Trust charity do?

PUBLISHED: 16:28 15 December 2020

Hebron Trust clients and staff eat together   Picture: Teele Photography

Hebron Trust clients and staff eat together Picture: Teele Photography

Teele Photography

Our series looking at the work of some of Norfolk’s charities continues with the Hebron Trust

Thirty five years ago Bill and Norma Gordon opened their Norwich home to women who wanted to break free from addiction to drugs or alcohol. It was the start of the Hebron Trust, which now employs 10 people and helps 50 women a year recover from addiction.

Chief executive Emma Pawsey said women seek help because their lives have become unmanageable. “Alcohol or drugs may be causing them to lose everything from their health to their house.”

Up to 10 women rehabilitate together in the sheltered and intensively supportive community, learning how to live a life in recovery. Most are in their 30s to 50s although the charity can help anyone over 18.

They come from across the country and Emma said: “Ideally people should try to go to a rehab away from their home town to cut ties with drug dealers or places where they obtained alcohol.”

The work is funded through fees which are paid either by social services or private referrals, plus donations and grants.

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“There are so many success stories” said Emma. “It is particularly wonderful when a woman regains her child or children from care,” said Emma. “Women come from all walks of life, some come from lives with jobs and families but for the ones who were homeless or came to us straight from prison it is great when they become independent in their own homes and start voluntary work.”

Founders Bill and Norma still keep in touch with what is happening at the charity they launched from their terraced house in Knowsley Road. They went on to help raise enough money to buy bigger premises in Stanley Avenue to create what is now Hebron House - named for Hebron, a Biblical city of refuge. Emma said: “They saw a need and felt compelled to help people.

“The charity was founded with a Christian ethos which is described in our articles as ‘countless acts of kindness.’ Women of all faiths, and none, are welcome.

And she said the work of the Hebron Trust is still desperately needed. “We see more and more cases that are complex with severe mental health conditions and are perhaps at the worst end of the spectrum of chaotic lives.”

The rehabilitation is based on the 12 Step programme pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous and Emma said: “I am passionate about it and feel it is a tool for everyone, not just people suffering with addictions to drugs or alcohol. I decided to follow the programme myself so that I could talk to residents from experience. I recommend it for all.” She had previously worked for the probation service and housing associations and said: “I was asked to come and visit Hebron House and fell in love with it. I then did three trial days and never left! It is a special place. “We receive hundreds of cards a year from ex residents telling us about their lives and how grateful they are to Hebron.”

The Trust is also supported by volunteers who help with anything from fundraising to taking residents to medical appointments. And how can readers of Norfolk magazine help? “We are always looking for trustees and volunteers,” said Emma. “We have a wonderful board of trustees who are the backbone of Hebron.” People can also donate through the Trust’s website hebrontrust.org.uk

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