Andrea Horrocks and a team of volunteers have been offering free cooked meals and food parcels to drug addicts and vulnerable people in Chorley.
WatchUsGrow is a community cafe at St Laurence’s Church, Union Street, Chorley, that has been supporting drug addicts or anyone in need.
Andrea Horrocks, Founder of WatchUsGrow, explains how she started WatchUsGrow whilst recovering from her own addiction:
“Two and half years ago, my partner was killed in a motorbike accident. I was a drug addict at the time. I got myself clean, like most addicts when you get clean, you have to change your life. I started to volunteer at drug and alcohol services, I then set up at the community cafe at St. Laurence’s where we used to cook a meal every Friday for people that are less fortunate, it was people who were addicts and people who are isolated or struggling.
“We had a few volunteers and it took off quickly so we extended it to Saturdays. We went around local shops to ask for anyone leftover food that would have been thrown away, Greggs has been a brilliant supplier, every day I go down and get the leftover food and deliver it to people in need.”
When the country went into the first lockdown, WatchUsGrow stepped up its operation to help as many people as possible:
“During the first lockdown, we extended to four days a week. I was picking up surplus food from the supermarket and making food parcels and it has just grown from there. Ever since that lockdown it has just taken off, we applied for funding and were lucky enough to get a significant amount which covers our rent.
“We have almost outgrown the Church now because there is that many of us and we are getting that much donated that we have nowhere to store it. We are looking for a new property with Help The Homeless, we’ve been talking to the council about getting our own place.”
The community organisation now has around 50 volunteers, the majority of which are also former addicts, Andrea believes that working together to help people has helped the volunteers stay clean:
“It all started with the goal of helping addicts, I understand it, I was an addict for 30 years. Around 99% of our volunteers are in recovery, they used to be addicts and got clean. It gives them something to do and something to motivate them. We have all become really good friends and speak to each other every day and support each other.”
For any more information about WatchUsGrow and the work they do, check out their Facebook page here.