Shoreditch charity for substance misusers hosts Sufi music concert

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Foundation for Change, a charity for recovering substance abusers, will host a benefit concert in late November. (Image courtesy of Foundation for Change/Facebook)

Ghulam Abbas Khan, an Indian vocalist, will take the stage at St Leonard’s Church on Shoreditch High Street later this month.

The concert on 26 November is the first one organised by Foundation for Change, a Shoreditch-based charity that runs holistic psychology courses for people recovering from drug or alcohol misuse. Khan will perform Sufi music, a poetically-inspired musical tradition within the mystical form of Islam.

The nonprofit, which was founded in 2014, understands substance misuse as a rational response to trauma and aims to rebuild recoverers’ physical and mental health. It hopes “to give them [recoverers] a sense of autonomy and empowerment to… move away from being a patient or a victim to someone who is running their own lives autonomously,” Katie Higgins, Foundation for Change’s peer development coordinator, told the Hackney Post.

Its flagship course, the NEXT Project, includes modules on how to redeem self-esteem, control anxiety and respond to trauma, according to a 200-page-long manual seen by the Post.

Most of the trainees are funded by their boroughs to attend the courses as part of their rehabilitation care packages, Higgins said. Foundation for Change has a close working relationship with Hackney, Islington and Wandsworth, she added.

The nonprofit hopes the concert will help strengthen its relationship with communities in and around Shoreditch. As part of its rehabilitation programme, the nonprofit often sets trainees up with voluntary work placements with local organisations, which range from substance rehabilitation charities to coffee shops like Paper & Cup on Calvert Avenue, to help develop their career aspirations. The charity has also partnered with “Beyond Me“, a training programme for aspiring businesspeople organised by City of London professionals.

“Our emphasis on supporting people to exit treatment and enter the workplace meets both a gap in the current treatment landscape and an urgent societal need,” Higgins said.

Bex, who underwent the NEXT Project programme after receiving treatment for drug and alcohol misuse, said: “During treatment I never actually learned too much about myself. It was just basically putting a sticky plaster over things or just becoming abstinent from substances.”

“But the NEXT Project… [is] about learning about yourself and unpicking things using psychological theory,” she added. “That was a complete turn for me because I had never done anything like that. Two of my best friends [and I] did the course together and our lives have completely changed because of it.”

Bex is now studying for a qualification in Working with Substance Misuse and volunteers at Foundation for Change in her spare time. Out of some 52 people that have accessed the charity’s programmes since 2014, 75 percent of them have graduated into employment or further education, Higgins noted.

Tickets to the concert are £20 and £7 for concessions, and can be purchased online. All proceeds from the concert will go toward the charity’s running costs.

(TOP IMAGE: Foundation for Change/Facebook)