Ms Stewart is stepping back from the day-to-day running of her beauty salons and property portfolio to focus on Vitality Homes, which will offer people 24-hour support. Tony McDonough reports
Millionaire Liverpool businesswoman Kate Stewart is to set up a new service providing 24-hour support for people battling drug and alcohol addiction.
Ms Stewart is stepping back from the day-to-day running of her beauty salons and property portfolio to focus on her new venture, Vitality Homes, which will help integrate those previously addicted to drugs and alcohol back into society.
She says she has personally witnessed drug and alcohol addiction ravage the lives of those close to her and is now determined to do something about it. She has appointed a team of medical professionals and social workers to operate the project and has identified a number of suitable locations in Liverpool.
Vitality will provide accommodation and 24-hour support for people who have overcome addiction and have been drug and alcohol-free for a minimum of 26 weeks and who are now readying themselves to reintegrate into society through supported living.
Over the last couple of months Ms Stewart has worked with organisations including Transforming Choices – the Liverpool based rehabilitation residential organisation – and Tom Harrison House, a specialist facility that provides addiction treatment to military veterans, reservists and other emergency personnel.
During that time the former owner of Liverpool’s Heritage Market has taken the opportunity to learn more about the complex needs of people battling and overcoming addiction.
She says there is currently limited provision for individuals in Liverpool who have completed the 20 week rehabilitation programme offered by organisations such Transforming Choices, Tom Harrison House and others.
“People close to me have been affected by substance misuse and I’ve seen it destroy lives, but with the right support people can turn their lives around and there are many wonderful organisations in Liverpool helping people to do that,” said Ms Stewart.
“The big problem is where people go after they’ve been treated for their addictions and where they turn when they want to get their lives back on track.
“There is a chronic shortage of supported living in Liverpool and that is why I’m launching Vitality Homes so that we can provide real care and support for people as they prepare to return to living a better life free of drugs and alcohol.
“Vitality is all about giving people the tools to get their lives back on track. It’s absolutely essential that they really want to get help because there is a strict policy for those wanting to become a resident here.
“Candidates will sit before a panel of medical experts where they’ll be interviewed. If they’re successful, they’ll sign a licence agreement and become a resident where there will be regular alcohol and drug tests.
“We’re providing a home, educational and training workshops as well as essential counselling and medical support. If a resident breaks the licence agreement, they’ll be removed from the programme immediately.
“This is something I care passionately about. I’ve put a strong team together and we really want to make a difference.”