A HEALTH-BOOSTING recovery regime for drug and alcohol addicts is being launched after a windfall from the Oxfordshire Freemasons.

The Ley Community rehab centre in Yarnton has received £33,000 to put residents through their paces on its 'Eating and Exercise for Recovery' programme.

Over the next three years, scores of people will be put on a rejuvenating diet and exercise programme while learning lifelong skills to stay fit and healthy.

Darren Worthington, who was recently appointed as CEO of The Ley Community, said: "We are most grateful to the Freemasons for their generous grant.

"The programme which will help 90 people overcome their addiction over the lifetime of the pilot scheme, and hopefully many more in the future."

Experience at the centre, which was first established in 1968, has found that many addicts begin rehabilitation malnourished and underweight due to poor eating.

Staff will put new arrivals on a diet that eliminates junk food and added sugar, with a nutrition consultant helping with personalised goal-setting and diet plans.

Participants will also be treated to cooking workshops and advice on budgeting for meals as well as taking part in daily exercise and gym sessions.

Those with specific injuries or other medical conditions will be given one-to-one personal training.

Roger Hampshire, charity steward for Oxfordshire Freemasons, visited the site last Wednesday to watch a boxercise class and make smoothies with residents.

He said: "It was marvellous, very informative and a worthwhile visit. They are learning the basic principles of lifestyle and health.

"We fund a lot of research projects at Oxford University and this is a natural progression. We felt it was worthwhile to support them.

"For so many years we have ignored addiction and problems of alcohol and drugs and the best ways to treat it, and the Ley Community seems to be pioneering this."

Two current residents were on site at the time of Mr Hampshire's visit and are already getting stuck into the programme.

Participant Charlene Carson said: "I used to be very active up until a couple of years ago. Having the opportunity to get back into exercise is really helping me focus my mind, helping me with confidence, self-esteem and my general well-being, which I believe is very important in recovery."

Fellow resident Dominic O'Gorman said: "After vigorous exercise, the body's energy can become depleted and the natural fructose and fibre in fruit & vegetables is a great way to replenish the body. Speaking personally, through the programme here I have put on 2.5 stone in a matter of just weeks."