A BLACKBURN businessman is launching a bid to bring a revolutionary fitness-based programme aimed at beating addiction to his home town.

Sales director Darren Smith brought up in Mill Hill, was so impressed by the 180 Project based at the Crossfit Clitheroe Gym on Primrose Business Park he decided to try and help expand its activities.

Now he is to hold a fundraising festival in July so the scheme can start up in Blackburn and Darwen.

The 180 Project, based on an American model, has been operating in Clitheroe since 2016 and aims to break the cycle of addiction, crime and prison by adding Crossfit training to traditional 12-step recovery programmes.

It works with alcoholics and addicts fresh out of residential detox, rehab and prison to provide wrap-around support to help them back into normal life and the work-place, achieving a much-higher than usual success rate.

Mr Smith, aged 45, was so impressed with what he saw on visits to the Clitheroe Gym he decided to raise funds to extend the scheme to its Blackburn and Darwen counterparts, starting with an event at the gym he uses on the borough.

He said: "Having been around some of the success stories from the project I decided I wanted to get involved by giving some of my time to the project.

"I am a Blackburn lad and wanted to organise an event in the borough to raise funds for the charity but more importantly awareness of the project locally.

"I am organising the '180 Project CrossFit Festival' at CrossFit Deltafox in Lower Darwen and we have some of the success stories from the 180 project and some people both currently on its programme to complete with our members.

"It will take place on Saturday July 20.

"I have had friends and family who have struggled with alcoholism and addiction.

"I have seen how the the 180 Project works for people and Crossfit really helps them break that cycle of addiction.

"So far I have raised £1,600."

Caroline Sagar, an executive with the 180 Project, said: "We are delighted Mr Smith's organising this event.

"The project provides wrap-around support for people to bridge the cap between coming out of residential rehab or prison to help them get back to normal life.

"They come from all over Lancashire.

"We combine Crossfit with a 12-step recovery programme, mentoring, peer support and signposting to counselling.

"Since 2016 our Community Interest Company has supported 130 people and so far we have a success rate of them staying clean and sober of around 80 per cent."