General News

‘Silent Voices’ conference celebrates 10th Anniversary at the Amex Stadium

Besi Besemar July 22, 2014

Professionals, relatives, friends and carers of people with drug and alcohol issues have been invited to a free event at the Amex Stadium on Thursday, 31 July, 2014.


The conference is organised by carers and professionals who work in the field to provide a safe space for all those affected to spend time concentrating on their own needs, meet others in the same position, and find out where they can get help and support.

To celebrate their tenth year organisers have bid for additional funds from Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex councils to hold the event at a larger venue.

A creative-themed agenda will include performances including The Ripple Effect by the RT Dance Company and music from the Cascade Chorus of the Cascade Creative Recovery charity, which will bring entertainment and inspiration alongside personal stories and recovery workshops.

There is also a chance to take part in creative and healing activities during the day at the Happiness Art Project and free holistic therapy sessions.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health, Peter Wilkinson, is chairing the conference, and will be setting the theme with his opening words on the vital role played by families and friends. “Alcohol and drugs misuse ruins the lives of whole families, not just the substance users”, he says.“Families and friends not only care for people misusing drugs and alcohol, but also have a vital role in helping people to recover from their problematic use and to improve their health, well-being and participation in society.

“A great deal is expected of families and friends in these situations and events such as this one help support them with the challenges they face.”

The conference will close with a performance from singer-songwriter Linda Em, who is travelling from London for the conference.

Linda says: “Getting involved with Silent Voices 2014 feels natural for me because my father still has issues with alcohol.

“Growing up within this kind of environment was challenging. My mother was forced to leave Ireland with us children and try, as so many of them did in the 1980s, to start again in the UK.

“For me, alcoholism is not just personal, it’s also cultural, particularly so in some Irish communities. It causes families to break apart, and many of the victims are my friends.

“Silent Voices gives carers and families a chance to be saluted and celebrated and to connect with others, giving them a sense of mutual aid and understanding which is essential for the well-being of family members.

“I am completely thrilled to be performing at the event. Many creative people have been through turmoil as a result of alcohol and drugs. It shifts our perspective and teaches us to celebrate the work around us and appreciate the small stuff and people in our daily lives, and if that’s the gift my upbringing has left me with then I’m ok with that.”

The event is being funded by Brighton and Hove City Council, West Sussex County Council and East Sussex County Council.

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