Open day at Stevenage addiction rehab centre in bid to break down stigma

Janis Feely founded The Living Room in May 2000.

Janis Feely founded The Living Room in May 2000. - Credit: Archant

People with have the chance to see behind the scenes at an addiction rehabillitation centre during an open day next week.

The Living Room was founded by Janis Feely MBE at The Glebe on Chells Way in Stevenage in May 2000, after she successfully overcame her own addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.

The charity supports people with addictions to anything from alcohol and drugs to gambling and sex. As well as counselling, The Living Room helps clients through creative writing, art therapy, drama groups and even equine therapy.

Each year, 60 to 70 per cent of addicts who engage in the services – that’s about 120 people – achieve abstinence recovery.

An open day is being held at the Stevenage centre next Friday, July 7, from 1.30pm until 5pm, when members of the public can meet the counselling staff and hear testimonies from people who have benefitted from the charity’s services.

Fundraising and marketing manager, Mark Wiseman, said: “Part of what we want to do is break down the stigma that often surrounds addiction.

“It’s an illness that doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can be affected - we have beneficiaries here aged from 18 to over 70, from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and from low to high income groups.

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“Our open day will demonstrate that, when it comes to addiction and recovery, everyone is equal.”

Seven people will describe what their lives were like at the height of their addiction, the treatment they have received at The Living Room, and how they have managed to make it onto the road to recovery.

Mark said: “We want to demonstrate the widespread benefits of our service. Every time a client leaves The Living Room and is in recovery, there is a positive ripple effect upon the family, which is freed from the turmoil of addiction, and the wider community, which benefits from reduced pressures on its health, legal and social services.”

Anyone who would like to attend The Living Room open day can just turn up on the day, but they are encouraged to register their interest first by emailing

For more information about The Living Room, visit