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Birmingham's first 'dry bar' to combat drug and alcohol abuse

A recovering drug and alcohol addict has completed a turnaround to open Birmingham’s first dry bar.

Steve Dixon Credit: BPM Media

A pub that it is completely free of alcohol, forms part of Recovery Central, founded by Steve Dixon, who has beaten a 15-year addiction with alcohol and drugs to establish city charity Changes UK.

Steve says that Birmingham has long been overdue a dry bar, following the success of Redemption in London, Sobar in Nottingham and Brink in Liverpool.

We are going to have Caribbean and Indian nights, and also get bands and comedians coming into the dry bar.

It’s a nice, safe environment where you can enjoy a good atmosphere without anyone spilling drinks over you. It is not just for people in recovery, a lot of people would enjoy a night out without drinks all around.

– Steve Dixon
The project, in Digbeth, will also feature a new café called Friends Kitchen, a business unit and a multi-purpose conference centre. Credit: BPM Media

Funded by Public Health England, the 50,000 sq ft centre in Digbeth will also house social enterprises started by people who have been supported by the charity – a gardening business, a building company, a state-of-the-art recording studio and a recovery radio station.

The organisation’s own 31-strong team will be based there too.

This is a massive milestone in our nine-year history. It will help us support even more people.

Our service works because it is led by people who have been in similar situations and come through them.

It focuses not only on tackling the problems, but also giving individuals support and opportunities once they are in recovery.

– Steve Dixon

He says that Changes UK boasts a record of 78 per cent of clients staying clean and building new lives, compared to a national average of just eight per cent.

Birmingham’s first dry bar. Credit: BPM Media