Cathy Come Home director Ken Loach hits out at welfare cuts
Film director Ken Loach has launched a broadside against Government welfare cuts as he celebrates the achievements of people who have turned their lives around in the fight against addiction.
Award-winning charity Developing Health and Independence held an event to honour its service users and volunteers.
Its awards recognise their achievements, not only in dealing with their problems of social exclusion, but also in supporting their peers or making a contribution to their community through voluntary work.
Patron Mr Loach, who lives in the city, has featured the plight of homeless people and those with addiction problems in his films, such as Cathy Come Home and My Name is Joe.
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The event also updated supporters on social enterprise businesses which DHI has launched in the past 18 months, bringing employment into the area and helping to find accommodation for 20 homeless people.
Mr Loach said: "The past year has shown us again that anyone can find themselves caught in circumstances where they need help, support and encouragement to build a new life. Yet there is one lesson we fail to learn. When economies go into recession it always seems to be the vulnerable who suffer most. They depend on welfare services and benefits which are cut and cut again.
"Those who are affected by inequality and exclusion have good friends and a strong organisation on their side. As you will see in the stories at the awards, many people have been helped on their way to a brighter and more positive future thanks to DHI."
DHI chief executive Rosie Phillips said the event was important to "challenge the stigmatisation of those who are struggling to overcome drug or alcohol problems".
Latest statistics show that in the 12 months to June 2011, its clients with substance use problems reduced their intake by 55 per cent.
For more information see www.dhi-online.org.uk.