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U-Turn Centre aims to do more with move to new Carbonear location

Tammy (left) and Jeff Bourne of U-Turn are excited about the opportunities their new location affords them.
Tammy (left) and Jeff Bourne of U-Turn are excited about the opportunities their new location affords them. - Chris Lewis

Home on Industrial Avenue creates added opportunities to help addicts




The U-Turn Centre has made quite a name for itself in Carbonear over the years, and the organization has recently made a big move to reflect that

U-Turn is a drop-in addictions recovery centre, located in Carbonear. The centre has been open in the community for approximately seven years, with the doors opening for the first time in 2011 by Jeff and Tammy Bourne. Jeff has spoken openly over the years about his first-hand experience with the struggles of addiction. Together, he and Tammy have worked towards bettering not only Carbonear and surrounding communities, but the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole, through their work under U-Turn.

The new location on Industrial Avenue is a big step up from U-Turn’s original location on Powell Drive.
The new location on Industrial Avenue is a big step up from U-Turn’s original location on Powell Drive.

After operating out of a relatively small space on Powell Drive for the first six years, U-Turn, with the help of the provincial government, have officially made their way to a much bigger facility on Industrial Avenue, where they have access to plenty of office space, a larger kitchen area, and, perhaps most importantly to a facility like U-Turn, a much larger open area. Here, people can gather to collect their thoughts and simply spend time with loved ones after a hard day. This room alone is approximately the same size as the entire centre they were originally working out of.

“Basically, we had outgrown our old spot,” Jeff said of the new location, noting in particular that it provided them with the opportunity to do things that the old building simply could not handle, including the number of people who would attend the several meetings U-Turn holds throughout any given week.

“Sometimes, our attendance for our meetings would get up to around 45 people,” Jeff said. “That’s a lot of people – almost too many people – to fit into that small spot we were in. One night, one person got a little too overwhelmed and passed out, and when I called the paramedics, I found out that our max capacity there was 16 people. We had 45. That’s kind of when I knew for sure that we would need to move on and get a bigger space.”

In 2017, U-Turn saw approximately 7,200 visits in the run of a year, according to the organization’s data. Numbers like these are what convinced U-Turn that a larger space was no longer just a business goal — it had become a necessity.

“That’s a lot of bodies to be going in and out of a door over a year,” said Jeff. “The open area we have here in this building, where we have some chesterfields and whatnot, is about 670-square feet. The old space, including the washrooms, hallway, offices, everything, was only a little bit bigger than that.”

Over the years, Jeff and Tammy have seen plenty of ups and downs, which they say is something one needs to be prepared for when running an addictions centre. The centre acts not only as a place for those struggling with drug problems. For many people, it quickly becomes something of a second home for some people – a place where they can go and feel safe, and a place they know they can rely on to avoid the stigma that still holds strong for many addicts in recovery.

“We’ve had people come in here and reunite with their families after years of struggling with addiction. We’ve had people come to us on their worst days and their best days, and sometimes we find out that some of these people don’t survive the battle,” Jeff said. “So, these buildings, whether it’s here or in our old location, are a lot more than just a building, or an office. To some people, it’s a place that holds so many memories for them in some of the darkest, and best, points in their life. Hopefully, that follows through to this spot too.”

U-Turn initially moved into the new location in May of 2018. It hosted a grand opening event on Saturday, Aug. 11.

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