Recovery from Addiction

Independence & Wellbeing

Category: News (page 1 of 5)

The kind way to do Christmas…

Café Sobar, the award-winning social enterprise where all profits go to the addiction recovery charity Double Impact, is offering a thoughtful alternative to the usual office Christmas party. For £25 per head you can enjoy a Christmas mocktail upon arrival, three mouth-watering courses, and tea or coffee.

Best of all, you’ll get an extra glow from knowing that by coming to us for your Christmas dinner, you will be contributing directly to a vulnerable person in the community being able to enjoy the same. All proceeds will go towards a free dinner for those in recovery and their friends and family this Christmas.

To enquire about booking, please email


GRAHAM’S BLOG -THE ROBIN HOOD HALF – The Magnificent 7 (29.09.2019)

I can’t believe it’s a year since our Recovery Running Team took on the Robin Hood Half to celebrate our 20th Birthday as a Charity. This year our “Magnificent Seven” signed up to take on a tough course around our beautiful home city of Nottingham. Thanks to Martin and Jodie from The Treat Kitchen,, and Becky, Emma, Matt and Greg for joining me in raising the profile of our charity at the same time as supporting people in recovery from addiction. You all did yourselves and us proud with some fantastic times and PBs to boot!


The weather forecast wasn’t the best, with the prospect of torrential rain and thunderstorms (see Funniest Moment – below). As it turned out it wasn’t all that bad and actually near perfect running conditions. Participating without my usual running buddy, Lisa, this year was always going to be a different challenge, so she sent along her husband as a very capable reserve. Thanks to Greg for staying inside that 1:55 pace all the way – top effort. And great to see all of our team reaching their personal goals and a special mention and well done to Becky for going sub 2 hours for the first time – amazing and truly inspirational.


The Sights, Sounds & Emotions

It never ceases to amaze me just how much you take in during the 13.1 mile journey. Having prepared for a head down battle with rain and thunderstorms, the cloud broke and Nottingham began to shine. It’s a pretty course, starting and finishing on the Trent Embankment with significant crowds there and at many spots along the route. Nottingham Castle, The Trent and Wollaton Hall are amongst my highlights interspersed with many tree-lined streets and even boulevards. Paris eat your heart out!  I think the noisiest sound award goes to the Notts Women Runners who were also providing a ’Race Angel‘ service on the day, helping people through that last mile. The crescendo of very noisy support on Castle Boulevard picks me and thousands of others up every year.  Brilliant effort by each and every one of you ‘Purple Ladies’. As for the emotions, where do you start?  Every time I see someone with a message to their loved ones on a t-shirt or banner on the side of the route I just simply fill-up. Working for a Drug & Alcohol Recovery Charity also brings its own share of highs and lows, and the public support both on and off the course gets to me every time, thank you to everyone who gave us support or a shout out this year.


I always like to give people a mention so here we go – Mick and Phil going through The Park Hills (how do you push a wheelchair up those hills when most of us can hardly run up them?).  Scooby Doo again and Rob (see my GNR Blog). Great to see and hear the West Bridgford Liberty Singers out there too, enjoyed your rendition of Mr Brightside in between miles 11 and 12.


Inspirational Moment – This is reserved for a stalwart member of our Recovery Running Club who was a spectator for the day, as he is tapering in preparation for the Chester Full Marathon on Sunday. Good luck, you’ll smash it.


Funniest Moment – We had arranged to meet up pre-race in the Charity Tent. I was just in the process of getting stripped down to shorts, vest and running shoes when I turned to see Becky armed with wellies and a cagoule! For anyone who had looked at the weather forecast for the day this was not a bad shout. As it turned out the weather was way much kinder than expected.


Recovery Running Club (now including sessions for complete beginners) – Our club has now moved to Wednesdays at 5.00 with the meeting/start/finish at Café Sobar on Friar Lane.  Most weeks we manage to venture out in all conditions to walk, jog or run 5k for regulars. Much shorter distances for beginners are also on offer. If you would like to take part with us get in touch by email at or Twitter @DI_Recovery and @ DI_Runs. You can also call us on 0115 824 0366 .







After the marathon task (excuse the pun!) of running 20 half marathons in 2018 I took a break from blogging about running but continued to run of course! This year has been a different challenge for me as I have been quietly clocking up the miles in my 1200 miles in 12 months challenge. All on schedule with over 850 miles completed so far. As for running half marathons I’ve concentrated on training runs and have covered the 13.1 mile distance 15 times this year so far! So to get back into the events side of things it was the long haul back up to the North East to compete in the 2019 Great North Run for the second time.


Last year I had friends to ferry me around Newcastle and South Shields but this year I decided to take on the services of Nirvana, a GNR travel partner. This involved a coach trip from Nottingham, 1 night’s accommodation in Newcastle University, 13.1 mile run to South Shields to be reunited with the coach and (with a bit of luck) your overnight bag! A really different experience for me travelling with 30 others but something I will happily repeat in 2020 at the 40th GNR. Can’t wait for that one.


“The Annual Attempt to catch Mo Farah – Part 2”


Last year the Great North Run seemed to just pass me by as I was in the middle of a run of 5 half marathons in 6 weeks, to ensure the challenge of running 20 would be completed in Nottingham at the Robin Hood Half. It also turned out to be my slowest of the 20 at 1:55:07. In 2018 I really felt beaten up by the Great North and Mo Farah, so this year I wanted to get even (me v the GNR course) and closer to Sir Mo (me v Mo Farah).


Did I win the battle with Mo? This year it was different. I stood on the start line knowing that I could give Mo a scare, and I did. I got 5 minutes and 50 seconds closer to him this year after running 1:49:17. I consider that a moral victory. Just a mere 50 minutes and 10 seconds off the pace for me! Lifetime PB for him of 59:07 – course PB for me, what could be better? In the end we were all winners. Anyone who trains for and runs 13.1 miles deserves a medal, and in this case everyone receives the same one whether you are Mo or me!


The GNR is the World’s biggest half marathon with 57,000 people registered to run. There is an incredible sense of occasion and even hilarity with everything from Disney’s Incredibles, Scooby Doo (again), a man carrying a bike, Wonder Woman, Rob the Bear (more below) together with tens of thousands of charity runners and me all chasing after Sir Mo, Brigid Kosgei, David Weir and Jade Hall. It’s easy to forget that you are running in the same race as the world’s best athletes.


It is difficult to describe the feeling of unity at the start and throughout the GNR. The support is the best I have experienced at any running event. I’ve not ran the London or New York marathons yet but I continue to enter the ballots. It takes a lot of generosity and effort from the people of Tyneside to ensure that everyone is cheered every step of the way. All of us were grateful for every bit of encouragement and support, not to mention drinks, jelly babies, ice creams and offers of Vaseline to help with any rubs (other good brands of petroleum jelly are of course available!). To each and every supporter, marshal, volunteer, member of the service personnel and organisers we are eternally grateful. You really do put the ‘Great’ in the Great North Run.



Funniest Moment – I met Rob two years ago on the train to Birmingham for number 2 of 20. I then met him at the university the night before the GNR – what are the chances? Then I randomly managed to bump into him again (in a full bear costume – mad in that heat) amongst 50,000 on the Sunday morning- unbelievable! Hope he finished ok.

Best Moments – The start area when they played ‘Mr. Brightside – The Killers’ and all you could see for miles was people’s bouncing heads. Humbled by the support of thousands shouting encouragement. Getting the pacing right this year, I enjoyed it so much more than last time.


Most Inspirational Words – 2Great to see someone running for people that are portrayed so badly in the media. We all know someone who has been touched by addictions – Well done to you!”


WHAT’S NEXT? – Get Involved


Robin Hood Half Marathon – It’s nearly time for our local Half Marathon – The Robin Hood, which takes place on Sunday the 29th of September. There’s a regular team of us taking part so why don’t you join us? There is still time to enter but please get in touch with us this week or it may be too late. Please e-mail us at or to find out more visit the charity ‘s website


We are being sponsored and supported by confectionary business, The Treat Kitchen, again this year and once again some of their team are taking on the 13.1 mile challenge


Recovery Running Club – Moving to Wednesday’s from 25th September 2019

Since January this year we have been establishing a small but dedicated group of ‘Recovery Runners’. Most weeks we manage to venture out in all conditions to walk, jog or run 5k. If you would like to take part with us get in touch. The next scheduled meet is on Wednesday 25th of September and we plan to meet every week at 5 pm in Café Sobar from then on a Wednesday. The club welcomes all-comers from absolute beginners to seasoned runners. Interested? Then contact us through the website or follow us on Twitter @DI_Runs. See you all out there soon.


Grant to help Recovery Academy model scale up


Scaling for success: Double Impact wins support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs and Postcode Innovation Trust.

Graham Miller, the CEO of Double Impact Services, has been awarded a place on a competitive leadership development programme, to help scale the success of their Academy model.  The Academy supports people to recovery from addiction and reintegrate into the community through peer support, accredited learning, volunteering and employment.

The Scale+Accelerate programme supports the leaders of established organisations working in the following sectors: employability and training; health and wellbeing; environment and conservation.
Double Impact Services has been identified as a well-established organisation impacting the lives of people in need , with the potential to scale impact even further.

The programme is being run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, a charity that supports 1,000 people a year to develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems. It is funded by the Postcode Innovation Trust, a grant-giving body funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “Being awarded the place on the Scale+Accelerate Programme marks out Graham Miller as a leader with the potential to take this organisation’s impact to the next level. We are delighted to be supporting him on the journey to tackling one of the biggest problems in society.”

Participants are learning in small cohorts made up of peers from their sector. The Scale+Accelerate programme brings these leaders together to share experiences and overcome challenges, and they receive learning from expert practitioners on how to develop their organisations. They hear from expert speakers and other leaders with deep experience of the challenges they face.

Ian Baker, head of learning at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, says: “It’s so important to hear from inspiring social entrepreneurs and charity leaders who speak frankly about growing an organisation. We’re introducing Graham to experts to help him develop new skills and build a network of peer-support. We believe leaders need space to reflect and develop, as well as learning about the technical aspects of scaling – such as developing sustainable business models, impact and evaluation, and leadership and management.”

Find out more about the programme at


New Boston Recovery Pathways project launches

Double Impact are please to announce the launch of a new project based in Boston , Lincolnshire.

The four-year project, funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund, aims to help people recover from drug and alcohol problems, enable them to gain new skills and qualifications, improve their prospects and feel more connected to their local community.

The ‘Boston Recovery Pathways’ project will  work in partnership with  local treatment providers, Addaction, other service providers and local employers to create the best outcomes for participants and the community.  Double Impact are already delivering support services to people in Boston and the surrounding areas through their Lincolnshire Academy service and this project will enhance the support available to them.

The project will offer personal development and peer support groups, accredited mentoring and other training, and provide drug and alcohol awareness training to members of the community such as family members and local employers.








Cafe Sobar is 5 years old!

Double Impact’s social enterprise, Cafe Sobar, is 5 years old this week.  The cafe was set up to give people in recovery a safe place to socialise and to provide voluntary work experience to those in recovery trying to build up their skills and confidence to get a foothold in the job market.

Every penny of profit from the cafe goes towards supporting the charitable work that Double Impact does for people with addiction problems.

The cafe was set up with the support of a grant from the Big Lottery Fund who continue to support us, and local coffee and industry experts, 200 Degrees Coffee, continue to provide us with expert advice, as well as superb coffee!

The magnificent building which houses Cafe Sobar is owned and generously leased to us by the Nottingham Building Society, and still retains many of the original features from when it was a branch e.g. the entrance doors, the incredibly heavy safe door behind the bar and the original marble panels (hidden behind the wood panelling).  The distinctive murals of Nottingham landmarks were created by local artist and graphic designer, Nathan ‘Smallkid’ Bainbridge  and the overall design was by local design firm Constellations, who also designed Antenna in Nottingham.

It was officially opened by dance music legend and DJ Adamski on 23rd January 2014.

Over the past 5 years it has been accessed by over 1800 people in recovery from addictions, and provided voluntary work experience to 58 people.  It has hosted groups and events by 40+ community organisations.

Many thanks to all our dedicated Cafe Sobar staff and volunteers, loyal customers and our funders and supporters.  Here’s to the next 5 years!






Students from the Lincolnshire Academy attended a special celebration event with staff, family and friends.  All the students  have achieved accredited units, awards and certificates including Mentoring Skills.  Those students who have gained this qualification will go on to work as mentors within the service, helping those who are new to recovery to ‘find their feet’ and inspiring them by demonstrating what is possible in recovery.

NRN and Clean Slate Academies Certificate Presentation Event

NRN and Clean Slate Academies Certificate Presentation Event

In October, we celebrated our Nottingham Recovery Network and Clean Slate Academy students’ hard work and success at our certificate presentation event. Students received certificates for their achievements on our Level 1 and Level 2 programmes.

It was a truly inspirational event and enjoyed by all. Congratulations to all those students who received certificates. We are already looking forward to planning the next one!

Access to Heritage Exhibition

Well, our Access to Heritage project is now finished (apart from the exhibition in Cafe Sobar which runs until the end of December 2018!).

We’re really pleased to mark the end of the project by sharing this short film which was made by our friends at Crocodile House.  It may be short but it’s perfectly formed and gives a great flavour of what the project  was about and what it meant to the people that took part.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project introduced people engaged in Double Impact’s services to local heritage from the viewpoint of ‘The Outsider’.  The programme took the form of several visits to local sites of interests and heritage venues, and led on to a series of creative workshops where participants could respond to their experiences in a variety of ways.   The sessions culminated with a live performance event in Cafe Sobar, attended by friends and family, where participants shared what they had create

d.   This performance was recorded and turned into a podcast which was later broadcast on community radio station, NGDigital.

It is hoped that this pilot will inform a larger programme of similar activity in the future.

Some of the work is on display at Cafe Sobar until the end of the year.

Click on the link below to view the film:





The final one of the twenty Half Marathon challenge arrived, and fittingly it was time to run around my adopted home of Nottingham, with 24 other people running for Double Impact and raising funds along the way.  The lead up to this one was a bit different, as it was a case of organising an event and then taking part in it too. Quite a challenge for our small team of runners at Head Office on top of the day job, family commitments and not forgetting the months of training!

The Robin Hood in Nottingham was the culmination of a year of campaigning to reduce stigma faced by people recovering from addictions. What a great sight to see our logos everywhere, with runners, volunteers and marshals in our charity vests and T-shirts standing side by side with some of the UK’s big name charities. Double Impact in its 20th year was definitely standing out from the crowd with our strong presence in the Race Village for thousands to see. It really felt like a coming of age for our work, and a fitting finale to a year of campaigning (and running of course!).



The closest one to home, however this was one of my earlier (and chillier) starts at 5 am, to ensure that our stand in the Race Village was all set up. Huge thanks to Chris & Sean from our team for their help in looking after our stand. By 7.00 am everything was in place to welcome our fantastic team of runners, many of them first-time half marathoners, together with the thousands of competitors and their supporters. A final team talk and then suddenly we were lined up for the team photos and heading off to the start areas. With runners ranging from sub 1:30 to Sub 3:00 it was not going to take long for us to be spread across the route.

Nottingham can be a tough old course, with some challenging hill running between miles 1 and 3 as you pass by Nottingham Castle and head into the residential area called The Park, again full of decent hills. After The Park a long downhill section allows you to recover your energies ready for the next 9 miles. Next up near the halfway stage, it’s off into Wollaton Park in all its autumn splendour, including a Tour De France style short sharp climb lined with hundreds of supporters screaming encouragement at you. A few twists and turns past the Raleigh Island and near to the Queens Medical Centre before you can feel the call of the last few miles along Castle Boulevard and into the Meadows. At this point we passed through our very own section with marshals, volunteers and our vocal adrenaline cheer squad. What a welcome sight at nearly 12 miles, and a huge boost to get us through the final section before hitting the crowds on The Embankment, serenaded by ‘The Tuneless Choir’, who really don’t live up to their name – all in all great support!

On this occasion I ran with Lisa, our HR Manager, who doubles up as my training partner. I have to say thanks for putting up with me over 2000 miles of training across the last two years, plus two of the 20 half-marathons in this challenge. Fittingly we crossed the line together. To be honest neither of us could wait to get back out onto the course to see our other runners in the finishing stages. An absolute privilege to see you all finish and have you as part of the team. A special mention to Ellie from head office and Rebecca from our Nottingham Academy on completing your first ever Half Marathons – an amazing achievement!

This year we went all out to get people involved and they did. From our teams of runners, staff, supporters, volunteers and families, to the team from The Treat Kitchen, who not only chose us as their Charity Of The Year but who also decided that four of their team should run on our behalf, a huge thank you. And to Nikki from Buckles in supporting us and in getting a new PB. To all our runners a huge well done.  24 starters – 24 finishers.

Best Moments – Nottingham and it’s fantastic home support for Double Impact, never had that many shout outs before. Having so many runners and volunteers involved with us this year. Seeing twenty four people run for Double Impact. Seeing Rob who I met twelve months ago in Birmingham on Run 3. Meeting Matt who is doing 50 half’s in 50 weeks. Oh, and of course finishing the 20th.

Funniest Moments – At last year’s Robin Hood, Lisa my running partner disowned me on the course for singing, but this year it was her turn to be the choir master, made me laugh all the way! A sign saying ‘Smile if you just let out a little wee’ (strange breed us runners!).

Inspirational Words – “There were times when I doubted if I could run a Half Marathon – here will be a lifetime knowing that I have” – Robin Hood Finisher’s T-shirt. The best words I have seen on any of my twenty runs. “You should be very proud of what you have achieved, it’s amazing” – my wife Ali and daughter Isla – I couldn’t have done it without your support or belief in me.



I really thought that I would have had enough by now but quite the opposite. I have been offered a chance to do a 13.1 mile lap of honour in Birmingham 10 days from now, by Changes UK, an addiction recovery charity similar to ours. Thanks to Steve their CEO for the invite, and I can’t wait to meet your team of runners. Then at the end of October I am off the Rugby to run with Mark in his 50 in 50 challenge and Sean in his 80 in 8. I’m sure that will round things off nicely!



Our team of runners and fundraisers would like to thank everyone for their donations and support. If you would like to make a donation to this campaign please click here I would like to add my personal thanks everyone who has supported me along the way, far too many of you to mention here.



We are planning to start a Double Impact Recovery Runners club, open to anyone who is interested in running and supporting our work. We plan to enter a few runs together over the next 12 months and for those who wish finish up with the 2019 Robin Hood Hal Marathon. In-between times we will meet up for the odd training run. If you are interested just contact me alternatively join up through our running twitter @DI_Runs.

Also we would love to hear from anyone wanting to support our work in any way. If you are interested please get in touch with us at


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