RECOVERING drug addict Darren Anderson is using his 20 years of substance abuse to help reach out to users in Irvine.

Now a community worker in Vineburgh, Darren organised the first North Ayrshire Recovery event asking for agencies and drug services to work together.

Darren, 39, has turned his life around and wants to see other drug addicts do the same.

Using the Vineburgh Community Centre as a pilot project, Darren wants to offer recovering addicts volunteer work, from helping in the centre’s café to hosting fitness sessions and even walking up mountains – changing their focus and giving the addicts a voice is what he believes can help make the change.

“I was an addict for 20 years, I’ve been there, I almost gave up on myself,” explained Darren.

“But after 20 years I got help, I went into a long rehab through the Broken Chains charity and then I decided it was time to come home to Irvine.

“I was advised against that as it can lead to set backs but I knew I wanted to come home and try and work on helping others.

“I became a community development worker here at Vineburgh and now I want to set up a recovery community plan that can be rolled out across Ayrshire.”

Darren and Louise Mcphater believe working together they can offer voluntary positions for people in recovery at the centre, help agencies come together and keep them on the right path.


Darren Anderson, of Vineburgh Community Centre, and inset, Louise Mcphater want to help addicts

Darren Anderson, of Vineburgh Community Centre, and inset, Louise Mcphater want to help addicts


Attending the meeting was former MSP Rosemary Byrne, who pushed for a Bill at Holyrood 19 years ago calling for the rehab system to be given an overhaul.

She told the meeting about her son Sean and her experiences of him as an addict for 30 years.

“I feel very negative and angry about the lack of communication between the different agencies involved, I have 30 years of dealing with them,” said Rosemary.

“I have seen this system fail people and we need to work together to make changes and give these people a chance to get the help they need, from a range of agencies working together, with a programme that is catered for them.

“I am happy to say my son is now working and living in Yorkshire and is on the right path thanks to the help of Charles Kingsman and Broken Chains.

“We must work together to reach more people and end the stigma attached to this addiction, it can affect anyone and any family here in Ayrshire.”

Louise Mcphater added: “This meeting has been positive and we can now start working together, without judgement and prejudice and help people living in our community.

“There is no judgement here in Vineburgh, I grew up being told I would amount to nothing. I was from a scheme, I worked hard and I have shown that we can follow our dreams, we can listen to each other and become a force to be reckoned with.”