Building Merkinch Together

27 February 2015

“When people feel they have a purpose they feel valued and have more confidence in themselves, and therefore the area they live in.”

For The Right Reasons is a charity based in Merkinch – a small part of the city of Inverness, Scotland. It began when a group of people living with addiction started to get together regularly to help each other through their problems, and now exists to support other people from the area who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. It helps them to stay clean, learn new skills through volunteering at the local charity and print shop, and build new relationships in their community. 

Cricket plays a large part in the community in Merkinch, and is a passion shared by the people who live there. “I was disappearing a lot, and not as good at cricket as I used to be,” explains Kevin. “My friends from the team came looking for me when I started to miss games, and found out I was using heroin. They rallied together and tried to help me.

 “Richard, who ran the cricket team, offered me a chance to volunteer at his print shop, and from there I started to regain control over my life. After volunteering, I now run the print shop full time, and help others with drug and alcohol addictions.”  

With an investment of almost £50,000 from People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthKind through The Health Lottery, For The Right Reasons has grown its volunteer programme from a small pilot scheme, and now offers more routes to recovery and work for people in the area – remaining led by its users.

“When people feel they have a purpose they feel valued and have more confidence in themselves, and therefore the area they live in” explains Richard Burkitt, Project Coordinator at For The Right Reasons. 

“Giving some of the marginalised people in Merkinch a chance to reduce the level of drug addiction and alcohol abuse is a tremendous contribution to the well-being of the area. For The Right Reasons is trying to be a voice for the local concerns that previously had no voice.” 

Through their print shop and charity shop, For The Right Reasons has established a big presence in Merkinch, with its two social enterprises serving as hubs for local people. Volunteer placements for unemployed people affected by addiction help them to move forward with their lives, and ultimately into paid employment. 

Tina, a volunteer, said: “The print shop has helped me in so many ways. I was homeless, and addicted to drugs and drinking a lot. I didn’t feel like there was any help for me. Now I feel stronger. I volunteer here regularly, and have learned so much. I feel part of a community.”

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