Friday 12th June sees the funeral of Charles Kennedy MP, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Although on the surface, Charles Kennedy seemed like a happy, successful individual, beneath this, a strong political figure was battling his own demons.

In 2005 Charles Kennedy made his battle with alcohol addiction known, and this struggle is what led to his unfortunate death earlier this month.

Forever Manchester funds and supports a variety of causes, and we understand the importance of groups that help individuals suffering with addiction, like Charles Kennedy was.

Addiction can often feel like a very lonely place, and groups that we fund and support give people the lifeline they often need to fight their demons and start the long road to recovery.

When the death of Charles Kennedy broke last week, it was evident that he was a much loved individual in politics being described as “a lovely man” with “rock-solid principles” who brought “a light touch” to politics. With Gordon Brown saying “He will be remembered as one of the most gifted and personable leaders of our time.”

Addiction can have a hold on the unlikeliest of individuals. Often people who seem happy and together on the surface can be fighting themselves, which is what community groups and projects aim to help.

One such group is Cirtek Alcohol Service Users Group (CASU) based in Stockport.

CASU aim to challenge stereotypical images of people with an alcohol problem, to give service users choice, empower and support people to live a sober independent life and to allow service users to recognise and maximise their potential.

Forever Manchester has funded the group for various positive projects ran by the group to support the continuing and increasing need to provide support to people of every race and creed who abuse alcohol, which has been widely documented in the press.

The group said: “The majority of persons would probably be seen as alcoholics. This ‘label’ can only be made by an individual to their own situation. In most cases alcohol is not the cause of their problem but a symptom usually of a wider mental health matter.”

CASU’s aims are:

  • Long-term sobriety for users
  • Encouraging and supporting individuals to lead as ‘normal’ a life as normal
  • Encouraging individuals to return to work, where possible
  • Rebuilding self-esteem and confidence

CASU provides a much-needed and well-used service to people with alcohol addiction and related problems. Many of the volunteers have first-hand experience of such problems and provide a different kind of support to that available on the NHS.

The NHS’s Community Alcohol Team in Stockport, part of Pennine Care said: “CASU offer very valuable support to our clients. It is a type of support which is not available via statutory services. The mentors hove been through treatment themselves and can therefore offer a different type of support to that given by professional trained staff. It is also at a level statutory services would be unable to provide.”

If you’d like to help more people like CASU, your donation can help us to fund and support a variety of causes across Greater Manchester, just like this one.