Church on the Street: Historic Burnley town centre church to be transformed into poverty support hub with addiction recovery academy that will be a 'UK first'

A historic Burnley church is being transformed into a poverty support hub with an addiction recovery academy that will be a “UK first”.

The team behind Church on the Street (COTS) in Hammerton Street plans to move to a bigger home in March in order to help more people falling on hard times.

The charity will convert the 205-year-old Burnley and Nelson United Reformed Church in Bethesda Street into a modern-day support hub with expanded services and a new COTS Recovery Academy led by Pastor Emma Daggers.

Explaining the need to expand, Pastor Mick Fleming, who oversees the charity, said: “We've seen a growth in need so we're moving into this building to allow us to survive, and grow and work in a different way. We'll be able to facilitate more care for the town, bearing in mind there are thousands and thousands of people that come through our doors over one month.”

The pastor said he has seen pensioners and working families fall onto the breadline for the first time.

"I have done this work for 12 years on and off in different places and I have never seen working poverty before. We’re doing things like buying people bus passes to go to work. We’ve never had to do that before. People are coming in at the end of the month for food parcels as their wages are not lasting.”

He added: “We're also creating an addiction recovery academy, which will be a first in the UK in regards to how we're going to work around ADHD and autism and early diagnosis.”

The recovery academy will be the first of its kind to offer various services all in one place for hard up people battling addiction, according to the senior pastor. It will provide structured daytime rehab, early mental health assessment and support, as well as links to the community and partner agencies.

The bigger space will also offer: an expanded mental health team; separate food preparation and serving areas; offices to work with partner agencies; counselling, medical and group therapy rooms; a needle exchange and a Hepatitis C clinic; a children’s play area; a food bank; and space for church services.

The team is fundraising £25,000 to fit a lift offering disabled access throughout the premises. To make a donation, please visit

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