A specialist support unit in North Ayrshire for families affected by drug and alcohol problems, has celebrated its first anniversary.

And the big occasion coincided with the release of the first Care Inspectorate report for Harper House's childcare service - which received 'good' rankings in every category.

Harper House, run by Phoenix Futures Scotland, is designed to provide dedicated support for families affected by a parent or carer’s mental health, drug and alcohol problems.

Formally opened by the then First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on November 21, 2022, in a partnership with the Scottish Government, the Canal Street facility has already supported more than 21 families, to recover from drug and alcohol problems in a safe, structured and substance-free environment.

Residents are able to continue caring for their children while they are in recovery, and in the first year 30 children, including four babies, have been supported in Harper House.

In their report, the Care Inspectorate marked the facility as 'good' for its care, play and learning, its setting, its leadership and its staff team.

The inspection was carried out in October and the report, released this week, said: "Children were confident, happy and having fun. Staff were kind, caring and nurturing in their approach with children.

"Staff and management worked well together creating a welcoming environment for children and their families.

"Leadership promoted a shared vision, values and aims used to positively inform practice."

A small number of 'areas of improvement' were highlighted, including further development of quality assurance systems being needed to plan for improvement and doors linking the childcare centre to the main accommodation should be made secure.

Harper House has also just been featured as Ayrshire Community Trust’s service of the month.

Kerry McGhee, registered residential services manager at Harper House, said: “To be at the beginning of the Harper House journey with Phoenix Futures Scotland, and to see a truly nurturing and transformative service take form, has been the high point of my working life.

"Everyone involved with the service is immensely proud of what has been achieved in the first year.

“The amazing Harper House team have created a person centred environment where the people we support can safely recover from drug and alcohol use without being separated from their children, preventing cycles of intergenerational trauma.

"Being recognised as Ayrshire Community Trust’s service of the month is the icing on the cake.”

Family members supported at Harper House have also praised the service.

One mum said: “I’m waking up with my kid here, I’m making breakfast, I’m ironing her clothes, I’m getting her out to school, and I’m working on my recovery, which is going to help everything.

"And when she gets in from school, I’m being a mother."

She added: “As a mum, this is massive. To go to rehab with your child, it sounds horrible. But it’s not. It is a happy place.

“Having been wrapped up in addiction for 18 years, it’s given me the opportunity to be a good mum.

"It’s given me the opportunity to find me. It’s given me my feelings back. It’s given me a new lease of life.”

For more information on Phoenix Futures Scotland, go to www.phoenix-futures.org.uk/phoenix-futures-scotland/