Subiaco: Fresh Start supporters petition to keep centre open

Fresh Start Recover chief executive Jeff Claughton. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Fresh Start Recover chief executive Jeff Claughton. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

SUPPORTERS of Subiaco’s Fresh Start drug rehabilitation centre have set up an online petition to keep its doors open.

The petition comes after Fresh Start chief executive Jeff Claughton revealed last month that the centre was at risk of closing because of a decrease in State Government funding.

Catherine Barrowman set up the petition after hearing the news and said the centre had helped many people suffering with drug addiction.

“We are so lucky here in Perth to have this service on our doorstep, it gives people hope and a chance to turn their lives around,” she said.

“The Government should be supporting this service, with what it needs in order to operate and do what they do best.”

Mrs Barrowman said she had experienced firsthand the work Fresh Start were doing, with her husband currently undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction in its Northam facility.

She said her husband had been implanted with the naltrexone drug five weeks ago to help him recover from his illness.

“I found Fresh Start out of desperate times and knew it was only a matter of time before this horrible illness killed my husband,” she said.

“Fresh Start welcomed us with kindness and offered my husband a lifeline, their services and support were amazing from day one and brought hope and positivity into our lives again.”

Mr Claughton said the number of people seeking help for methamphetamine addiction had risen by 23 per cent and would only continue to rise.

He said a reduction in $1 million worth of Government funding, as well as claims of a broken funding promises by Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis, had only put extra pressure on the not-for-profit centre.

Former Fresh Start client Reanna Sanders said the service was an “absolute blessing”.

“I had been an opiate drug user from age 17 to 30, with two beautiful children and was on the verge of losing them,” she said.

“That’s when I went to Fresh Start and met Dr George for the first time; he continued to help me for another five years and I am now in my seventh year, and have the most beautiful life and happy, healthy and smart girls.”

She said if not Fresh Start she would not be here today.

“It’s so critically important for Fresh Start to get the funding they need to give another person and their children the chance of life like I did,” she said.

“People like myself, who have succeeded and can say I now live, I don’t just exist. Keep the doors open and give more chances and more hope.”

Mrs Barrowman hoped the State Government would look at the success stories coming out of Fresh Start.

“The State Government needs to open their eyes and go and see what an amazing service Fresh Stat is, and one which our community needs,” she said.

“You only need to be outside early in the morning to see the lines of people waiting outside for the doors to open to get the help they and their families need.”

To sign the petition to keep Fresh Start open visit Change.org.