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Posted on 2 July 2024

Acorn and Calico celebrate 10 years of working together

Back in 2014, Acorn Recovery Projects became a member of the Calico Group – a decade later, we’re celebrating the successes of the past 10 years of collaboration.

When joining the group, Acorn was primarily a residential rehab service in Stockport, with community contracts in Greater Manchester. Established in 1997, they were a recognised presence in the recovery community.

Today, Acorn have expanded rapidly to provide a wide network of vital recovery services throughout Lancashire and Greater Manchester – supporting over 7000 people each year.

They offer supported housing, residential rehabilitation and a range of recovery services in partnership with other providers. They also offer support for people in the community with mental health, in partnership with an NHS trust.

Tom Woodcock, Director of Treatment and Recovery, said: “Since becoming part of Calico, our services have continued to thrive and create opportunities for people to grow and reach their potential. Many of our staff themselves have been on this journey and are genuine leaders in their recovery community”.

He continued: “We hope that the next decade will see Acorn continue to flourish and deliver real impact in our communities”.

Working with recovery services to provide more support

One of the greatest achievements of the past decade is successfully working together with other Calico Group services to provide a bigger recovery offering to the communities who need it most.

Locally, Acorn operates Burnley’s only residential rehab – Bank Parade. This provides vital support for a community facing increasing rates of alcohol and drug use.

Throughout the north west, Acorn collaborate with other group services to ensure their services reach more people. This network includes Horizon (Blackpool), Spark (Blackburn with Darwen), and Delphi in HMP Manchester, who bring recovery services to inmates.

Sarah Tattersall, Head of Operations South – Treatment and Recovery, said: “Opening the doors to other services has helped us to change more people’s lives”.

She continued: “We’re celebrating what being part of Calico has helped us achieve, and also what we’ve contributed to the group too”.

Focusing on positive recovery

As well as supported accommodation and residential rehabs, Acorn have excelled with their behavioural change offering.

Positive recovery – including RAMP, DEAP and other counselling and therapeutic services – have played a pivotal role in many people’s recovery journeys.

These sessions give people a safe space to discuss their journey with a counsellor, who help them create a recovery plan around their unique needs.

Understanding the importance of lived experience

After ‘graduating’ from residential rehab and other support services, many service users go on to give back to Acorn through volunteer positions. Some even progress into permanent support roles within Acorn.

Martin Bleasdale is now an Interventions Support Worker, after volunteering for over a year. Back in 2022, he came to Acorn for support services after leaving The Pavilion’s detox programme.

Today, he uses this lived experience to help other people in the same position through Frankie’s Men’s Group, Open Minds and a Brief Intervention group.

Martin continued: “Everyone has their own skillset. Using both professionals and lived experience covers all basis for people in crisis”.

On top of career opportunities, Acorn provides behavioural change, emotional wellbeing, and addiction awareness training courses for service users, professionals, and the wider public through Acorn Academy.

Recognised as a centre for learning by the National Open College Network (NOCN). They work alongside Stockport Continuing Education & Hopwood Hall College to deliver courses online and at a range of venues across the north west.

Bringing people’s stories to life

BadKamra moved over alongside Acorn a decade ago, and their good work continues to play a pivotal role in the ongoing success of Acorn.

Bad Kamra is an award-winning Social Enterprise business and video production company, committed to creating content that engages, entertains, educates and promotes positive change.

Their work is often showcased at Acorn graduation events, where people share their recovery stories on film, before accepting their certificates of success.

Sarah added: “Bad Kamra give us a platform to bring people’s stories to life. They are essential for raising awareness”.

To learn more about Acorn and the services they provide to the community, please visit or call 0161 484 0000.

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