FCU Community Partner to turn part of stadium into hospital and recovery village for addicts
With pleasure, we can announce that our partner, Hamilton Academical Football Club have outlined plans to for the transformation of it's North Stand to house up to 40 people recovering from alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
We are pleased to be involved in this project to help facilitate it's successful completion through continued financial support and provision of on-site sustainable energy generation.
You can find out more about the charities we support through Hamilton Academical Football Club and donate to their great causes by visiting the links below.
A recent article published by the daily record confirming the news, is cited below for your reading.
The £6million Recovery and Well-being Village will include a 20 bed rehab centre in the club’s north stand. A further 20 “support and transition” self-contained flats are earmarked for the ground around the stadium.
The village will also boast a gym, lecture room and therapy rooms.
Hamilton Accies Chief Executive Colin McGowan, a former alcoholic and prescription drugs addict who has been clean for 38 years, said: “We must stop the blame culture and finger-pointing that surrounds these horrendous death statistics.
“It is a fact that amidst a worldwide pandemic, the killer disease of addiction is still mercilessly taking lives everyday in this country.
"The time has come for society as a whole to find the answer by working together to build public social private partnerships will be the way forward.
“I truly believe that Scottish football clubs, their directors, supporters and sponsors are strategically well-positioned to deliver recovery to their individual communities.
“Doing nothing or doing little is no longer an option.”
Scotland has one of the worst drug death tolls in the world – with 1264 lethal overdoses in 2019.
Campaigners said that a lack of access to rehab beds is driving the tsunami of deaths.
Colin said that people with other addictions would be helped at the facility too.
He said: “When you add in drug deaths, deaths from alcohol and suicide, Scotland has well over 3000 deaths a year.
“That’s eight people every day losing their lives needlessly. Problems like gambling addiction often go hand-in-hand with drug addiction and these are the people we hope to help as well.
“We are getting a lot of support and believe this is more than just a plan.”
The club, alongside partners the Scottish Recovery Consortium and leading homelessness organisation Blue Triangle, hope to utilise 23,600 square feet previously rented out as office space.
Companies involved in the athletes' village for 2014’s Commonwealth Games are understood to be working on the rehab centre blueprints.
Private firms are being sought to help cover the £6 million start-up cost with plans that the public sector will step in to pay for it when it is up and running.
Accies hope the project could be finished by as early as 2023.
Their detailed plans said: “Build costs would be limited to internal configuration and fit out only. And the build timeline would be shorter given the existing structure and utilities already being in place.”
Blue Triangle look after up to 400 people every day across nine councils and up to 80 per cent of its users have experienced addiction problems.
The charity’s Chief Executive Iain Macfarlane said: “Football clubs are the beating heart of our communities.
“Colin has described them as cathedrals for the people – and that is something I agree with".
“There is a vortex of homelessness, re-offending and drugs that sucks people in. This is the time for courageous leadership and change. We hope these plans will help tackle the problem. I believe it can only be done when the private, public and third sector come together.”
Talks with Scottish Government health officials to discuss the rehab centre are being planned.
The lack of suitable recovery beds in Scotland has increasingly become a political football.
Opposition politicians have called for a legal requirement for addicts to get access to rehab facilities amid concerns funding has evaporated in the last decade.
Scottish Labour’s Drug Policy spokesperson Claire Baker said:
“The Scottish Government have failed to get a grip on drug deaths for too long and while we might have seen positive developments in recent weeks, the reality is Scotland’s approach to this issue must change".
“Nicola Sturgeon admitted she took her eye off the ball in dealing with the drug crisis, but thankfully Hamilton Academical haven’t".
“It shouldn’t be necessary for a football club to provide facilities like this, but Accies stepping in to help their community is something we should all praise.”
Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Annie Wells:
“This is a very commendable move by Hamilton Accies and I will be watching closely to see how their plans for a rehab centre in their stadium progress. Too many of our communities, including in Hamilton, have been devastated by drugs deaths in recent years and that simply cannot continue in this Parliament.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said:
“We’re aware of this proposal and will be making contact with the football club to discuss it in more detail.