East Sussex Recovery Alliance Living Free From Addiction

ESRA’s Care Around Treatment (CAT) service will prepare new clients for rehab, encourage them while they are there, and help them re-integrate into their community afterwards.

This comes at a time when ESRA had had more referrals in the last two months than during the whole of last year, and also when most other support services have stopped face-to-face contact.

Senior Support Workers Ally Withey and Dave Toler talk to the referred client 6 weeks prior to treatment. During this time, they help the client get used to the fact that they will be living outside their comfort zone for several months, and that they will have to follow strict routines. For some clients, this will be the first time they have ever had to follow any kind of structured living.

ESRA’s CAT programme takes each client through the following aspects of treatment in detail:

  • Rehab culture

  • Finances

  • Rehab activities

  • Recovery capital

  • Aftercare

  • Guest speaker

This preparatory phase ends when someone who has already completed treatment will come and talk to the client. They will discuss day to day activities in rehab and their experience of being a newcomer in an unfamiliar environment. The idea is to answer questions and to reassure the client.

Ally and Dave keep in touch with the client while they are in rehab. They are there to help the client through the inevitable difficult times which so often end with an early discharge. Helping clients to stay the course will improve their chances of staying on track in the long run.

Once rehab has been completed, Ally and Dave will make sure that the client is mentored and told about groups and activities that will support the early stages of their recovery. This usually starts with them coming to ESRA, and might later include volunteering and further education.

In the past, most clients have been completely unsupported from the time that they are referred to rehab, until they find their own way into a support structure after they are discharged. ESRA’s CAT service effectively bridges that gap.

CAT Referrals


Ally and Dave are part of a panel at STAR that meet regularly to discuss suitability of clients for treatment. They discuss the needs of individual clients and help select the appropriate rehab for each one.

HMP Lewes

The Forward Trust at Lewes Prison refers clients to ESRA. Suitable candidates can be released early if they agree to attend residential rehab.

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