It took three years, a worldwide pandemic, and a small team, but we got there in the end! I am proud to say that PROPS played a significant role in helping to bring this day of celebrations together. The national UK Recovery Walk (RW22) was held on Saturday, 17th of September, in Newcastle. This annual event celebrates families in recovery from active addiction, but anyone was welcome.

The Major of Newcastle launched the walk at the Civic Centre, and by the time the crowd entered the city centre, it’s estimated that over 2,000 excited people were joining in the festivities. Shoppers in the town centre stopped and applauded; some even joined in the walk, eagerly snaking its way through the streets of Newcastle. A group of drummers led the march and fuelled the excitement with carefully choreographed beats, and flags of all colours were waving in the autumn air.

The walk ended in Exhibition Park, but the celebrations did not. Various charities and organisations set stalls and invited the crowd to view their work. From veterans charities to NTaR, the park was packed with activities. Face-painters coloured the faces of the young and old; laughter yoga brought fun to those who joined; magicians captivated the young and the old, live music entertained the crowds throughout the afternoon and mutual aid meetings on repeat allowed those in recovery to share their experiences.

And of course, PROPS was there too. All staff present and correct. The beer Goggle challenge proved a success, many attempting to walk the sober line. Their attempts invited conversations with staff, and referrals to the service were made too. Staff were pleased to see colleagues: discussions took place, and connections were further cemented.

The day was a roaring success, and although the small team was exhausted, they left the park contented, knowing that the possible message of recovery was well and truly made.

Julie Gardner – Family Intervention Worker