The first of a three-part Themes series focused on building a recovery community, with my colleague Wulf Livingston using developments over time at North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) as an example. In 2015, Wulf was asked by James Deakin, the Founder of NWRC, to go and look at a former youth hostel that he wanted to take over in a first stage development of NWRC. Penrhyn House became the residential rehab part of NWRC, while Wulf has continued to support James and his colleagues as NWRC developed and has gone from strength-to-strength.
In the first film clip, Wulf emphasises that it is very important for the long-term success of NWRC, that despite people identifying it as something James Deakin was doing, from James’s point of view other people were helping him move things forward. The ongoing development of NWRC wasn’t subject to the ups-and downs of his mental health and general wellbeing.
Wulf points out that NWRC started as a singular community—residential rehabilitation recovery community—but once there was enough recovery in the house, it was time to invite ‘the recovery that was around the house into the house.’ Later, friends of recovery became involved with NWRC.
Penrhyn House, the residential part of NWRC, got actively involved with its neighbour, Maesgeirchen, a large housing estate located on the outskirts of Bangor, eventually providing food to a large number of local residents in need during the Covid lockdown.
NWRC attracted good supporters of then organisation, including high quality Trustees. As the complexity of the organisation increased, the Trustees came to include people with expertise in matters like law and finance. NWRC has now been separated into three different legal community interest companies—the residential, the cafe/restaurant, and Growing for Change.