Peer recovery center in Ware receives activation fund grant

Nov. 9, 2022 | Miasha Lee

WARE – The Ware Regional Recovery Center has received a 2022 Activation Fund grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.

The Ware Regional Recovery Center is a program of the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium. A peer-driven support center where folks with lived experience and early recovery come together and provide support to one another through offering activities, various groups and meaningful one-on one connections. The grant funds will help the center provide outreach support, educational materials, promotional brochures, technology, and signage. It will also support the relaunch of the center in its new location at 52 Main St. and a new name, the Recovery Center of H.O.P.E. (Healing Ourselves with Peers Everywhere).

Executive Director Kristel Applebee of the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium said, “We wanted community members to have a sense of ownership around their peer recovery support center and to be more reflective of the eighteen towns and communities around us. We want center participants to be contributing citizens in their community and ambassadors for what recovery can be like and what’s possible.”

She continued, “We are absolutely thrilled at receiving this grant. This is our first time receiving a grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The focus of these grants in particular are supporting organizations going through transition. We’re really grateful for their partnership and this funding.”

Applebee told Reminder Publishing this grant affords them to focus on three primary areas. The first area is providing furnishings for their space. They want to create a welcoming environment for everyone coming through their doors. The second area is in education and outreach; being able to meet people where they’re at in their recovery journey, reducing stigma for those in recovery, and encouraging those in recovery to share their lived experience in support of others. The third area is marketing; making sure the Quaboag region including all 18 surrounding communities have a sense that there’s a new peer recovery support center in Ware and they’re welcome to come help create it.

“It’s a place for them to connect with community resources, to find jobs, housing and primarily to connect with other people who have lived experience in recovery,” Applebee added. “They can find a new way to be in their community as they find their way with a new identity and go through the process of healing.”

This grant will support and allow the Consortium to then apply for state funding when it becomes available. Applebee said this transition time as they grow their recovery center is essential to be able to get to the point where they can have a fully thriving recovery center.

The Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance (QHSUA) is a core group that first dreamt of the idea of a recovery center gathering a group of people to talk about a Ware support hub. QHSUA invited the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium into these conversations because they were familiar with both consortium programs: Northampton Recovery Center and the Recover Project in Greenfield. QHSUA wanted to know how to establish one and could the Consortium help them. They partnered with the Consortium and the Consortium became the organization to have this new program. They’ve been growing the recovery center from an idea to a reality over the last four years.

The consortium submitted a timeline with their grant that outlines the steps. They’re purchasing furnishings and an outdoor sign for the center along with some window signage. They’re also designing their program materials to address education and awareness as well as promotion and marketing. The Consortium’s current goal is to create a platform where community members can make informed and supported decisions around creating the kind of community center that works for them. Their future hope is that they will at some point receive state funding that allows the center to have sustainability

“We’re creating opportunities for people to feel seen, valued and heard,” Abaigeal Duda, Peer Recovery Project coordinator. “It’s the relationships we built here that help move our lives forward and that’s the same spirit I hope others who come into the center will feel as well.”

To learn more, visit their website at and

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