A SUBSTANCE misuse group which has helped hundreds of families turn their lives around is celebrating after receiving a prestigious national award for its work.

Young people’s drug and alcohol service Early Break, which has one of its two centres in Bury Road, Radcliffe, was honoured at the Children & Young People Now awards in London.

Early Break, which covers Bury, Rochdale and East Lancashire, won the Health and Wellbeing Award for their ‘Holding Families’ initiative – which has helped more than 200 parents combat drug or alcohol problems.

Funded by Bury Council and Rochdale Council, the programme includes one-to-one and group help sessions and has seen 61 per cent of parents involved cease to use drugs and alcohol in the family home.

Recently-appointed chief executive officer of Early Break, Vicky Maloney, accepted the award alongside the chairman of trustees Diana Ashworth and Holding Families worker Katy Cleece. Vicky said workers at the organisation were “delighted” by the recognition.

She said: “We don’t set out each day with awards in the forefront of our minds; we set out each day to genuinely support young people and their families.

“To have this recognition for our workers and the families we serve, who actively participate in our challenging programme, is amazing and we value the recognition.

“What is important to us about the award is that young people and a separate adult panel saw our work as something worthy of praise.”

More than 400 professionals and young people gathered for the prize ceremony which saw 21 winners from the public, private and voluntary sectors celebrated for their services.

Entrants had to provide evidence as to how their projects had made a positive impact on people’s lives and the Holding Families initiative was also highly commended in another award category.

The judging panel was made up of a mixture of young people and adults including Children’s Commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson. Ravi Chandiramani, Editor-in-Chief of Children & Young People Now said: “Now in their eighth year, these awards provide a great source of pride and recognition for all those who strive day in, day out, to improve the lives of others.

“They offer an opportunity to raise the profile of projects and initiatives to funders and the general public.

“And they present a tremendous showcase of learning and best practice from across the country that can be an inspiration to all.”