A POWERFUL exhibition showing how photography has helped people recover from alcohol addiction was staged in Clydebank last week.

Pictures in the Building Bridges photo exhibition were taken by people who sought support from Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol (DACA).

The exhibition was the culmination of eight weekly personal development workshops run by local social enterprise Inclusive Images in partnership with DACA’s Big Lottery funded Steps to Recovery project.

Inclusive Images workshops use photography as a way of helping people tell their stories.

From a base at Clydebank’s G81 Studio at the former Holy Redeemer School, the group met weekly and discussed aspects of recovery and learned new photographic techniques. They then used their new skills to take photos inspired by the discussion.

Over the eight sessions, participants tackled some complex issues including identity, community and future goals.

They reflected on their own strengths and assets and prepared ‘ecomaps’ to evaluate their relationships and networks.

Participants were also encouraged to look at volunteering opportunities on offer, both within DACA and in the local community.

At the end of the project, the participants selected their favourite images, adding captions taken from their weekly discussions and then worked together to produce the exhibition which went on display in Whitecrook’s Centre 81 on Hallowe’en.

Provost William Hendrie attended the exhibition and presented the talented photographers with certificates to mark their achievement.

Tommy Turner, Steps to Recovery project co-ordinator, said: “The group had some very interesting discussions around what recovery meant to them.

“The photos are a really powerful way for them to share these experiences with their peers, our partners and funders and with the wider community.

“And I’m delighted the project got the group thinking about ‘what next’ with all the participants taking up the opportunity to have a chat with our Steps to Recovery Volunteer Development Worker about what volunteering opportunities they would like to get involved with in the local community.”

Charlie Hillan, one of the participants in the Building Bridges project, said: “The workshops helped me get out of the house, as I had turned in on myself when I was drinking.

“It was great getting out and meeting people and the camaraderie with the group was really powerful.

“They are all good people and they understood what you were going through.”

“They were all on their own road to recovery so it was great to be able to share some of our experiences with each other.”

Charlie has already bought a projector to view his photos at home, and now the course has finished he is buying his own camera. The participants are planning to set up a photography group within DACA, and encourage others to get involved.

To find out more about the services provided by DACA call 01389 731456 or 0141 9520881.