« Previous | Main | Next »

Return to the Manor Women's Project

Post categories:

Victoria Derbyshire | 11:40 UK time, Monday, 18 July 2011


I spent several hours at the weekend listening back to a programme we broadcast almost exactly two years ago to the day.

My editor and I had gone to Walsall to visit a kind of rehab centre for drug addicts and sex workers. I say 'kind of', because it wasn't what we expected: not sterile and formal, just homely and safe.

17 women lived there, in four terraced houses knocked together. It's run by Greg and Alison. It was a place that women who were addicted to class A drugs went to when they knew they had to get off them.

To be accepted into the house they had to agree to regular and random drugs tests, enrol on a college course (ex-drug addicts are often tempted to go back to the drugs out of boredom), and couldn't have a boyfriend (in some cases the boyfriend was the dealer).

In the first half hour of the programme, as several women described how they'd become addicted to heroin or crack cocaine and ended up working the streets or stealing from their parents to fund their habit, a couple of texts arrived from some listeners who weren't impressed. Either with the women, or with us for broadcasting from there: "junkie scum-bags - why give them the air time?". That kind of thing.

As you know, I read out as much of the critical stuff as anything else, so I aired these views. That led to dozens and dozens of supportive messages - "these women are working hard to get their lives back on track"; "these stories are inspirational "; "well done for letting us hear these articulate ladies and their determination to turn their lives around".

Anyway, whatever you thought of the broadcast two summers ago, we're returning to the Manor Women's Project this week. We'll find out who still lives there, who's successfully moved on, and who's relapsed.

Plus we'll talk to two women and their mums who, as a direct result of hearing the programme in July 2009, went to the Manor Women's Project because they needed help.

Victoria Derbyshire will be live from the Manor Women's Project at 10:00 on Wednesday 20 July

Related links

Listen to a podcast of the original programme
Read Victoria's original blog posts here and here


  • Comment number 1.

    Presenter trying to drub up some self congratulation me thinks.
    Count me out

  • Comment number 2.

    Another reason to give the show a miss

  • Comment number 3.

    Ignore those two horrid comments above. I really enjoyed the podcast f the program. Very informative and as one of the listeners said at the time it should be given to schools for pupils. Puts you off drugs that's for sure. Well done Victoria another great report. Up there with the AV live election which was EXCELLENT!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is a common theme in drug rehab. Some make it, some don't and unfortunately society bears the brunt of the repercussions of this behaviour through theft, prostitution, STDs, anti social drug taking dens which expose innocents of all ages to extreme behaviour. Glad the soon to be charity is helping a few but the drop outs are a concern. It takes guts and alot of self will to leave an addiction behind but the fact is the addict needs help forever, not just till they've been clean for a year or two. Such charities cannot provide this kind of support, it falls to family, friends and then NHS.

    I worked with heroin addicts for many years and not many make it through without a different problem taking the place of the drug.

  • Comment number 7.

    Goodness me what thoroughly depressing programme.The first time for a very long while that the narcissism and presenting style of Victoria Deryshire ventures out of the capital to the West Midlands and all we get is this sordid type of picture painting of the area.Why do I always get the impression with Vickys reporting on issues like this, that they come secondary to her priority to get a nomination for some award ?

  • Comment number 8.

    Although I could not listen to the whole programme I was impressed by the way Victoria handled the interviews with the women. I came away understanding a lot more about the problems of drug abuse. It was very different to the bullying tactics that she used to fluster Ken Clarke over rape and got him to say things that he did not really mean. I know he is a supposedly hardened politician but equally as a listener I wanted to understand what he point of view was.

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree with the latter part of post 8.I'm afraid that sometimes Victoria does fall into the trap of trying to make a name for herself at the expense of fair minded presenting/reporting.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    ...in that case, I agree with post #9, which was what I said in my removed comment.

  • Comment number 12.

    I thought that Victoria Derbisher was brilliant. I am a retired GP who has worked with addiction problem patients. It lifted my heart to hear from those who had kicked the habit and started a new life.

  • Comment number 13.

    It may have lifted your heart Richard but any professional who has worked with addicted patients know that the chances of a lifetime recovery is pretty slim in view of the personality involved. So it is unrealistic to think many people will remain unscathed after being clean for a while. Those who are unfortunate to have addictive personalities will sadly find other ways to feed the need, at the cost of their and their loved ones' happiness.


More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.