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Lennon Recovery House tour in South Rustico inspires

Lennon Recovery House in South Rustico (former Belcourt Centre).
Lennon Recovery House in South Rustico (former Belcourt Centre). - Contributed

Prosper West participants respond to need

A recent tour and presentation at Lennon Recovery House in South Rustico proved so inspiring for a group of Prosper West participants that the entire group decided to go back and spend a full day there volunteering to help get the recovery house ready for opening.

The former Belcourt Retreat Centre is being redeveloped as the Lennon Recovery House to assist people with addiction and mental health challenges.

It was founded by Dianne Young and named in memory of her son, Lennon, who died by suicide in 2013, after being long tormented by schizophrenia and drug addiction. Lennon Recovery House is a non-profit organization run by a board of directors.

Joyce Newcombe, program co-ordinator and job coach for the Prosper West Program, delivered by the East Prince Youth Development Centre, said a tour of Lennon House was inserted into the recent five-week program because addiction and mental health are prominent barriers to employment.

Funded by the provincial government, Prosper West’s mission is to assist employers, helping them find and maintain employees in the shellfish, tourism, construction and agriculture sectors and is directed at participants who are experiencing barriers to employment.

“This class was able to relate to the dire need of a recovery house for all of P.E.I.

Some spoke of how they could have used Lennon House or they know of someone who could really benefit from having a recovery house.”

Joyce Newcombe

“This class was able to relate to the dire need of a recovery house for all of P.E.I.,” Newcombe said. “Some spoke of how they could have used Lennon House or they know of someone who could really benefit from having a recovery house.”

Lennon house has a capacity to house 55 people in need of assistance.

Besides volunteering as a group, Newcombe said Prosper West participants plan to return on their own to volunteer.

She shared some of the comments and observations made by participants.

“Diane is an inspiration to me and many others for her ability to turn her story around into this much needed project.,” said one Prosper West participant, who is in a more than seven-year struggle with addiction.

“I would have loved to have a place like Lennon House to go to when I was struggling and in a bad place where I was struggling and needed support and had no friends, family, no money, no home and dealing with addiction,” added another, who also mentioned losing close family members to addiction and suicide.

“Diane’s story really touched me as I, too, struggle with drug-induced psychosis like her son. For me to volunteer at Lennon House is an extremely rewarding experience in being able to give back.”

Prosper West, Newcombe said, was developed specifically to raise self-awareness and confidence, develop new skills, overcome barriers to employment, to assist in job searching and resume-building, and to find and maintain employment.

A job coach service is provided to participants who may experience some transition to employment issues.

The program provides for a continuous intake of participants of all ages, referred to EPYDC from other agencies.

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