In 2005, the Zurich Community Trust identified the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse in families that as an issue where we could make a positive difference.  
Initially for a four year period, the Trust awarded £1,226.000 to the Breaking the Cycle programme to transform the lives of children with drug addicted parents. Addaction, the UK's largest specialist drug and alcohol treatment charity, was the partner chosen to deliver this work. 
In July 2010, because of the successful outcomes of the pilot programme, the Trust decided to award a further £600,000 to develop the programme.   Two additional grants of £150,000 and £200,000 were subsequently awarded to support fundraising activity for Breaking the Cycle, a longitudinal survey to evaluate the success of our work and to provide external City & Guilds qualifications for 40 Addaction family workers.
The programme works to literally break this destructive cycle through a programme of intervention by family workers who support the whole family where a parent misuses drugs and/or alcohol, although the the majority of Breaking the Cycle parents are mothers. 

This holistic approach - which prioritises the needs of the children and marks an exciting step forward in the treatment of substance misuse.  Another important feature of the programme is that Addaction's family workers actually support the parents and children in the family home, making it much easier for families to get the most of the programme. 

As a result, clients report having a more equal relationship with Breaking the Cycle workers than with those of other organisations.   Results to date would indicate that this form of intervention, focussing on the family as a whole, is the secret to breaking the cycle of generational substance misuse.  We will certainly share further research findings as we receive them. 


In 2006, the Trust funded a pilot scheme which funded dedicated family workers in Derby, Cumbria and Tower Hamlets to work with families in a holistic way where there is substance misuse.  The aim was to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol misuse on children.

  • These pilots were successfully delivered with the project outcomes independently verified by University of Bath.
  • As a result of this success, Breaking the Cycle was rolled out to additional sites across England.
  • Addaction have changed the focus of their work from individuals to the whole family. 
  • Over 2,000 families have been supported by Breaking the Cycle to date

Aim of the programme

  • Break the cycle of misuse which can lead to ill health and family breakdown 
  • Children will be given the support they need to stabilise their chaotic lives and fulfil their potential
  • Parents will become better parents and overcome their addiction
  • New family support services will be created as part of drug and alcohol services across the UK