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City Roads: Islington's charity-run drug and alcohol detox centre shuts after 41 years, citing lack of funding

PUBLISHED: 12:48 11 June 2019

City Roads was run by Cranstoun. Picture: Will Abbott

City Roads was run by Cranstoun. Picture: Will Abbott

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A residential detox centre in Islington providing support for those with drug and alcohol problems has closed, citing lack of funds.

City Roads, occupying a row of terraced houses close to Angel Tube station in City Road, has been a refuge for those suffering with substance misuse since its foundation in 1978. It was free to service users.

A statement issued by Cranstoun, the charity that runs City Roads, said: "For over 10 years, Cranstoun's trustees have agreed to support the unique and valuable City Roads service and have funded any deficits arising.

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"Unfortunately, the financial position has deteriorated such that the service is no longer considered sustainable."

City Roads has served residents of London and the Home Counties for many years, both as a crisis intervention unit, and more recently as a high care detoxification facility for alcohol and drug users with enduring and complex needs. Indeed, the decision to close comes at a time when there remains a high level of need for this type of provision. Despite this, diminishing resources have consistently reduced referrals below the level required to support the ongoing operation. Funding for the centre from London's borough councils had been diminishing over the past decade. Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, Islington Council's spend on City Roads dropped by 57 per cent.

This is understood to reflect a drop in the number of people referring themselves to the service.

But former staff member Michael Pavey said the phasing out of self-referral by those in need last year, and its replacement by a new system of referral by keyworkers, played a part. He said the new system required potential service users to "jump through hoops" to gain admittance, which had diminished intake levels.

City Roads cared for 409 individuals in structured treatment in 2017/18, the most recent year for which data are available.

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