Kairos students at the New Hanbury Project

On Tuesday, Geoffrey will become newest trainee barista at the Paper & Cup café, run by the New Hanbury Project in Shoreditch. He is one of the many Kairos residents and ‘graduates’ who have continued their personal development in recovery at the centre affectionately known simply as ‘the Hanbury’.

The project’s timetable changes from term to term. Current classes include computing, drama, upholstery, gardening, relapse prevention, working with wood, cooking, art, literacy, introduction to painting and decorating, and boxing.

“Our courses are designed to teach specific skills, although they aren’t accredited, and to encourage confidence and creativity,” says Dawn Johnson, manager. “They also take students out of themselves and give them the satisfaction of making things. And, very importantly, students are coming to a safe and sober place, where they can make friends and be with other people in recovery.”

Alongside a team of dedicated tutors, the Hanbury now has a progression worker who helps students look forward, towards their next step, whether it be volunteering or a college course.

The next step for some students is work experience at one of the project’s social enterprises, like Paper & Cup around the corner in Calvert Street, or Restoration Station, which takes donated furniture and repairs and sells it from the workshop (currently Monday afternoons and Fridays).

“I’ve been coming to the Hanbury since last July,” says Geoffrey. “The routine and new surroundings and people were difficult to start with but I’m really enjoying making new friends. I’m in a Kairos move-on house, so learning to cook is great, too. Our class went to one of Jamie Oliver’s kitchens – it was fantastic. And I’m looking forward to my afternoons at Paper & Cup. Plus, I’m also doing relapse prevention and singing this term.”

Mark, too, has found a great mix of classes. “I live in a Kairos move-on house and come to the Hanbury three days a week. I’m enjoying the structure and routine which surprised me as it’s been a while. I’m doing a computer class that has given me confidence, as well as boxing and relapse prevention. And I love art, which I discovered when I was doing art therapy classes at Kairos. This year I made my own Christmas cards.”

• The New Hanbury Project is part of the charity Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT). Students arrive through professional referral but for more information and contact details, visit www.sct.org.uk.