MANCHESTER, England, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
In a groundbreaking attempt to help former alcoholics and drug addicts return to mainstream work, a Northern charity is to issue its own work "licence" as an alternative to CRB checks - along with a guarantee that holders will not reoffend.
John Hopkins of Acorn Housing and Treatment - one of the most successful agencies of its type in the UK with a clean up rate of more than 80% - has announced this initiative on the eve of a national Recovery Festival being held in Westminster this week.
CRB checks will be amongst the key issues to be addressed by Festival speakers, including Ian Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, as they remain the main hurdle for people in recovery to overcome in their struggle to get back into employment.
"In this recession, it is increasingly difficult for anyone to get a job, particularly here in the North" says John Hopkins. "When it comes to someone in recovery it becomes virtually impossible because of CRB checks.
"This is grossly unfair as people in recovery are completely different than their former selves as addicts, where the addiction itself was the reason for their criminal behaviour.
"Hopefully employers will take our licence into account when CRB checks reveal that people in recovery have previously committed crimes."
A former addict turned criminologist, John Hopkins has the backing of the treatment sector who are trying to counter the issues facing recovering addicts in terms of employment, "There is a huge pool of talent to be had from those in recovery," he insists. "What we find is that, once clean, they tend to be more committed, more hard working than their peers who have not suffered the same problems.
"That's why we feel in a position to be able to guarantee they will not reoffend, the only proviso being that they continue to attend follow up meetings at regular intervals."
Acorn Treatment and Housing is also heavily into social enterprise schemes where it employs more than 60 people in recovery.
"However, we still want to open the door for the people in recovery to return to their rightful place in the mainstream workplace.
"We hope that the Acorn licence will go some way to help achieve that... "
For further information please contact John Hopkins on +44(0)7795-548628
SOURCE Northern Addiction Recovery Charity