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Rev's drug addiction charity looks back on 50 years since flower power beginnings of 1968

by Cara Bentley

A Christian charity created at the height of the flower power era, when drugs were becoming more recreational, is celebrating 50 years of helping people with drug and alcohol addiction. 

Kaleidoscope - called so because of the different groups who came, from mods to rockers and teddy boys to hippies - started in 1968 in a disco in a small church but now has 320 staff and supports 10,000 people.

At its beginning, Rev Eric Blakebrough opened a Friday Club in Kingston-Upon-Thames from 10pm-6am to provide a safe place for young people to go to once the pubs shut.  

Today, Rev Eric's son Martin runs Kaleidoscope from Newport. 

Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, said in a statement: "Kaleidoscope is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when we put our faith into action and seek to help those in desperate need of help. I warmly commend its work. Over the decades it has been a lifeline for so many people whose lives have been blighted by addiction and who have found nowhere else to go. There they have found not blame or rejection, but welcome, support and compassion which have been among the tools they have needed to try and rebuild their lives."

This video was made for their 40th anniversary in 2008. 

Martin Blakebrough, who runs it now, said: "Fifty years ago Kaleidoscope was a church response to drug and alcohol issues impacting on local communities. Over the years many people have been helped but the problems encountered then still continue today. We know there is no quick fix to addictions because the problem is not so much with the substances taken but the reasons people turn to them."

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