Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 17:13 UK

Dog helps rehab gardening classes

Deacon and one of Closereach's residents
Deacon helps the centres' residents get involved in activities

A group of people recovering from drug and alcohol dependency in Devon are sowing the seeds for a brighter future thanks to gardening classes.

The uptake of sessions at two treatment centres in Plymouth has been helped by a two-year-old dog called Deacon.

Deacon, who belongs to class instructor Glyn White, is helping at the city's Closereach and Longreach centres.

Glyn White said Deacon helped residents get over missing their pets and encouraged them to join in classes.

Treatment help

Glyn White said several residents got involved in the classes at the Closereach centre for men and Longreach centres for women after they came and started to play with Deacon.

He said: "I bring him along because for some people he might be their first point of contact.

"They might be missing their own pets, and that, in a way, helps them to stay in the treatment because at least they see him twice a week.

"He's full of enthusiasm and you can't help but smile. And as they come and start to play with him, they start to get involved in the other activities."

The centres are part of the Broadreach House charity which has helped more than 8,000 people over 25 years.

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