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The Salvation Army Abbotsford withdrawal unit to close

5 April 2012

The Salvation Army has recently been notified that funding from the Department of Health for the Bridge Withdrawal Unit in Abbotsford will cease on 30th June 2012.  The Withdrawal Unit, a 13-bed medically supervised facility to help people through the first stage of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, has been operating for over 15 years in its current location.

Captain Jason Davies-Kildea, Social Programme Secretary for The Salvation Army's Melbourne Central Division, is sorry to say goodbye to such a longstanding service to the community. 'Thousands of people have been helped by the Bridge Withdrawal Unit and will remember their time with us as a critical turning point in their lives.'

Plans to redevelop the building, which will also involve the relocation of a supported accommodation program and the development of a new 45 bed rooming house, brought about discussions with the Department of Health last year about how this would impact the Bridge Withdrawal Unit. 

The Salvation Army had identified an alternate space for the Unit on the existing site which would significantly improve amenities to the program and allocated the capital funding necessary to build.  However, in the context of the current Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) sector reform, the Department advised that future program funding could not be guaranteed and that the existing withdrawal beds may in fact be redirected to a different region to meet demand. 

As a consequence of this uncertainty, the building plans for a new Bridge Withdrawal Unit are unable to be realised and the current facility will cease operation at the end of June.

'We're proud of the work that's been done in the Unit over many years and the great staff team that have connected with people at their time of deepest need.  It's sad to see the end of this chapter, but we're still strongly committed to helping people through their addictions in whatever way we can.' 

The Salvation Army, one of the largest providers of drug and alcohol treatment services in Victoria, will continue to work with the Department of Health and the rest of the sector to reallocate as many withdrawal beds as possible to other services.  It is the hope of The Salvation Army that this situation will ultimately lead to the creation of innovative responses to the needs of our clients.

For more information please contact:
The Salvation Army, Australia Southern Territory
Territorial Communications & Fundraising Department, 95-99 Railway Road, Blackburn VIC 3130
T: 03 8878 2400 

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