Chris Musson, 51 from Southend, celebrated 15 years of working for Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus, the national group of mental health and substance misuse charities, at a surprise party held by colleagues and residents at the charities’ supported housing service in Southend.
Reflecting on his time with the charity, Chris said that if he could give his younger self one piece of advice, it would be to ‘stay positive and always see the potential for good in everyone’.
He said: “I’ve always been a firm believer in helping people to recover from their mental health problems rather than locking them away in long stay institutions. I feel we’ve helped a large number of people in Southend over the years.”
Asked what his favourite memory from the last 15 years was, Chris said: “Hearing an ex-client roaring up the Century House drive on his new Harley Davidson. He told me he would buy one with the money he would save from not taking drugs and he did.”
Stephen Smith-Trask, managing director for Richmond Fellowship (south), praised Chris’ achievement:
“We’re thrilled to congratulate Chris on 15 years of making recovery reality for the people we support in Southend-on-Sea.
“Over that time the services we provide have grown in number and quality and we’re excited to be opening our new Hope Lodge supported housing service in the new year to further bolster the support we provide to people in the area.”
Hope Lodge, the £4.8 million pound development supported by investment from the Homes and Communities Agency, will include 33 self-contained flats with specialised facilities including one wheelchair accessible apartment.
The scheme on Sutton Road is being developed by Sanctuary Group to replace Chalkwell Lodge, Richmond Fellowship’s existing supported living scheme in Westcliff-on-Sea.