About Us

The Nehemiah Project provides a home and support for vulnerable men with a history of addiction. Our residential Recovery Programme is abstinence-based where men can address the root causes of their addiction within a supportive environment. Our first stage houses are in Streatham and Croydon, and to find out more, please contact our Referrals Co-ordinator Paul Da Costa

At Nehemiah we believe that anyone can change their life, and this underpins all our work. Our holistic, peer group approach to recovery creates a safe place where men can go through the painful process of reviewing their lives and create a foundation on which to build their future.

How Your Support Helps

Our Residents have a history of addiction which has severely affected them, their families and the wider community. We enable these men to break this cycle of addiction, offending and homelessness, and provide the professional and life-changing support required to secure a new future.

See the impact your gifts have made in our 2023 Impact Report

The national average for remaining abstinent for one year is 30%; at Nehemiah 74% of Residents remain abstinent. Nearly 50% of released prisoners reoffend within 12 months and for London prisons this figure increases to 60%. At Nehemiah, as far as we know, only 5% of the men we have worked with in the last five years have reoffended.

Our Impact

Abstention Rate

We enable these men to break this cycle of addiction.

National Average 30%

Nehemiah Average 74%

Reoffend Rate

At Nehemiah, as far as we know, only 5% of the men we have worked with in the last five years have reoffended.

National 50%

London 60%

Nehemiah 5%

Our Staff

Abiodun Opaleye

Caretaker : The Chase

Abi has been caretaker at our Stage 2 Clapham house for a number of years, ensuring that it all runs as smoothly as possible and that the residents have the best possible environment for them to continue on with their recovery journey. Abi is a great storyteller and is always on hand with words of wisdom garnered from his years of experience.

Adrienne Sissuh

Recovery Programme Manager

Adrienne joined The Nehemiah Project in July 2011 bringing with her over 20 years of experience in the field of Health and Social Care. Adrienne has worked for various housing associations, managing a range of schemes for asylum seekers, refugees, homelessness, people with substance misuse problems and ex-offenders. She currently leads the Recovery Practitioners Team and oversees the New Future Programme.

Bridget Walker

Office Administrator, Recovery Team

Bridget joined the Recovery Team in March 2023 as the Office Administrator. Since graduating in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy, Bridget has worked supporting young people in both schools and the charity sector. In this new role she aims to contribute to the smooth running of the office, allowing the Recovery Team to carry out their vital work of supporting our residents. She is always happy to have a chat with visitors, staff and residents, so feel free to say hello!

Dawn Wilson

Family Programme Practitioner

Dawn joined Nehemiah in February 2019 as the Family Programme Practitioner, where she has brought about some happy family reconciliations. Dawn works with men in all of our houses. As a part-time worker Dawn packs a lot into her three days, working Tuesday to Thursday inclusive

Emily Byrne

Fundraising & Communications Officer

Emily joined The Nehemiah Project in 2023 to support Lois Ravenscroft with Fundraising and Communications. She has an MA in Media and Communications and a BA in English Literature and is passionate about supporting The Nehemiah Project in achieving their goals. She is particularly interested in representation in humanitarian communications. She also brings with her experience volunteering for the Order of Malta for many years.

Emily Unwin

Recovery Practitioner

Emily joined the Nehemiah Project in May 2021, bringing over three years of work experience as a recovery and resettlement worker with homeless people in a front line role. She has studied counselling with the CPCAB and is fascinated by human behaviour and understanding the power we have to change. Emily moved to London several years ago, embarking on a new career path which enables her to use her personal experiences of addiction to support others. As a Recovery Practitioner, Emily facilitates the CBT-based Recovery Programme, A New Future, and works one to one with our Residents.

Hannah Rodgers

Referrals Assistant

Hannah joined the team at Nehemiah in August 2023 and brings with her frontline experience supporting those facing homelessness as well as battling addictions. Along with Paul, Hannah deals with referrals and ensures nobody slips through the net. Hailing from a creative background, Hannah believes in the power of creativity and its place in positive change. Hannah has a passionate approach to the work The Nehemiah Project carry out.

Helen Malleappah

Recovery Practitioner

Helen joined TNP in October 2020. Helen brings in-depth experience of working with vulnerable adults and understanding of the problems our Residents face. Helen has worked at a PA and Office Manager to two CEOs, which would explain the efficient way in which she runs the 47TBG office. Her work as an HCA in the community and a private care home give her well-founded skills for the work that she does with us. Alongside this, Helen has studied Health and Social Care with the Open University, and has additional training in mental health support.

Iesher Sesay

Recovery Practitioner

Iesher joined Nehemiah in January 2024. Since graduating in Psychology and Criminology, Iesher has focussed on a career working with offenders both in prison and ex-offenders. Iesher has always been intrigued with the mind and behaviour, and how addiction can have an impact of this. She is very positive and passionate about recovery, and strongly encourages residents. Iesher is one of our facilitators and delivers the CBT-based Recovery Programme, A New Future, in our stage one Croydon house.

John Patience

Chief Executive

Dr John Patience has been the CEO of The Nehemiah Project since 2011. John has been fascinated by behaviour change for many years, initially in what initiates this change and then later in how this interacts within complex social systems.

Josh Benfield

Operations Manager

Josh joined The Nehemiah Project in Oct 2022 and brings with him frontline experience of working with those struggling with homelessness and addiction issues. As Operations Manager he, and his team, keep the charity ticking along, supporting the Recovery team in the essential work that they do with our residents. Josh is passionate about recovery and with his own personal experiences of addiction, views his role as part of paying forward what he has been fortunate enough to learn from others.

Katy joined Nehemiah in November 2023 as our Move-on Coordinator. Since graduating University in Psychology and Marketing, Katy worked in the mental health sector, supporting people who have psycho-social disabilities. Following this, she moved from Australia to the UK. Katy is passionate about recovery and helping the residents improve their overall wellbeing. Katy supports our stage 2 residents in reintegrating to society and facilitates the CBT-based Recovery Programme, A Brighter Future, on a weekly basis.

Kirsty Holt

Referrals Practitioner

Kirsty joined TNP in 2021 and is our Referrals Practitioner. With over 10 years’ experience in helping offenders and ex-offenders in different aspects of their lives, Kirsty’s down to Earth approach helps guide new referrals as they begin their journey at TNP, including inducting residents on their arrival. Kirsty works in assessing referrals, doing presentations and visiting a wide range of professionals. Kirsty is one of the first points of contact for both new referrals and referring agencies.

Lois Ravenscroft

Development Director

Lois Ravenscroft is the Development Director for The Nehemiah Project responsible for securing income for the organisation. Lois has worked for over 25 years in the not-for-profit/voluntary sector, specialising in all areas of fundraising, with experience in fundraising for the arts, homelessness, disability, international relief and development.

Mark Ash

Lived Experience Practitioner

Mark is our Lived Experience Practitioner and brings with him invaluable experience and knowledge of drug addiction, homelessness, and the criminal justice system. Mark shares his experience, strength and hope to those entering the project to encourage others that change is possible.

Paul Da Costa

Referrals Co-ordinator

Paul has worked within the Criminal Justice system since 1995, working for various public sectors departments and joined Nehemiah in February 2019. Paul interviews and assesses applicants to join Nehemiah’s programme, as well as promoting our service to a wide range of agencies in the sector

Tracey Thomas

Office Manager and Finance Officer

Tracey organises all the Charity’s accounts and administration, and keeps spending in line. Tracey has a PGDip in Business Administration, and as a CAP Money Adviser, she also takes modules in Budgeting in A New Future, and supports men in understanding and managing their finances.

Our Partner


The British Association of the Order of Malta

The British Association of the Order of Malta (BASMOM) has been working with the Nehemiah Project since 2016, providing expertise, funding and volunteer support to enable more men to break the cycle of addiction and crime. In partnership with BASMOM, Nehemiah‘s fourth house was established in Croydon and officially opened in June 2019.

BASMOM continues to support and work in partnership with the Nehemiah Project and wishes all their Residents the best of luck on their roads to recovery and freedom.

Our Trustees

Tom Nell

Tom has served as a Trustee since 2010 and was elected Chair of The Nehemiah Project Board of Trustees in March 2018. Tom was Managing Director of two subsidiaries of Cory Environmental Ltd for 11 years, latterly involved in growing a new subsidiary. Before that, he spent three years with Serco plc, and 18 years with Whitbread plc. He has experience in Logistics, Finance and Human Resources at the level of strategic direction and the delivery of on-the-ground services. He has driven business turnaround and growth, been involved in mergers, bidding and start- ups.

Kay Hunter Johnston

Kay joined The Nehemiah Project in December 2009 as a Trustee and was subsequently appointed Chief Executive in 2010. She retired in November 2012, and was reappointed as a Trustee. Kay trained as a solicitor with Allen & Overy, and subsequently became Company Secretary and Legal Counsel at The National Theatre. Kay has been involved in prison work for many years as a chaplaincy visitor at HMP Wandsworth, also helping to run Sycamore and the Alpha course in the prison. She has extensive practical experience of successful fundraising.

William Ansell

William was Director in Investment Management at Smith & Williamson until his retirement, following a long career in investment management. William has been involved for many years in a programme for mentoring ex-offenders organized by the Chaplaincy at Wormwood Scrubs.

Tony Watson

Tony worked for HM Prison Service for 20 years in various roles at their headquarters, until his retirement in 2011 from the post of Head of Offender Rights and Responsibilities in the National Offender Management Service. Tony is now Volunteer Chaplain at High Down Prison and also helps deliver Restorative Justice programmes at HMP Downview.

Joanna Whitaker

Joanna was appointed to the Board in December 2016, and is also a Volunteer with the Order of Malta, primarily caring for the sick and disabled, and supporting the younger helpers. As a qualified Addictions Counsellor (University of Bath) and accredited Recovery Coach, Joanna is an experienced practitioner who brings a good understanding of the problems faced by Nehemiah’s Residents.

Gavin Boyle

Gavin worked for years in investment and finance, most recently with the Tudor Investment Corporation. Gavin is a Global Envoy for The Global Fund for Forgotten People, an initiative of the Order of Malta; in this capacity he seeks to visit projects either funded by, or which might be funded by, the Fund, as well as representing the Fund to potential supporters. Gavin is also an active supporter of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House where he is a member of the Director’s Circle of Funders, and UNICEF, where he is a Global Guardian. Gavin is a founding Director of the education-focused charity SHINE Trust where he served as Chairman for five years; since August 2000, SHINE has donated almost £25 million, helping 280,000 children from 5000 schools. The Gavin Boyle Fellowship in Cosmology and Exoplanetary Science has recently been endowed at Cambridge University, by a joint donation from Gavin and the Kavli Foundation, and aims at attracting outstanding observers and theorists with interests in the areas of Exoplanetary Science or Cosmology, and who have the potential to become leaders in their fields.

Robert Atwater

Robert Atwater joined the Board of Trustees of Nehemiah in March 2018. Robert is also a Trustee and Treasurer of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. For Nehemiah, Robert is a member of the Property Group, encouraging and advising the Charity in its search for new properties.

Tim Aikens

Tim Aikens is an independent management consultant based in London. Tim specialises in business transformation and organisation-related work, helping clients to create sustainable change and organisational structures that support their vision and help generate competitive advantage. Whilst his work has primarily been in the energy sector, Tim has worked across a broad range of industries including, telecommunications, public sector, defence, shipbuilding, and engineering, to name but a few. His work in Organisation has covered the full range from visioning, organisational structure, values and behaviours, to culture development and manpower planning. He has also worked in the human resources sector, including management development, training, competency and counselling. For the last twenty years he has worked with most of the major oil companies worldwide. Tim is Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Wandsworth.

Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews joined the Nehemiah board on 21st July 2021.

Our Ambassadors

Richard Steer, Worldwide Chairman of Gleeds

Richard was appointed Chairman of Gleeds in 1999 and has grown the business into a global organisation with 71 offices worldwide. Richard is a champion of Gleeds’ philanthropic work and has generously supported Nehemiah, directing Gala Fundraising Balls and dinners. Richard worked with Nehemiah CEO Dr John Patience and others on ‘Rehabilitation by Design ‘ a paper which explores proposed prison reform in the UK, which was considered at UK government level.

Monsignor Roger Reader

Fr Roger Reader is priest at the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary Magdalen, Willesden Green, London. He was ordained in 1995 and worked full time in prisons from 1998, first as a chaplain at HMP Whitemoor for three years, and then for 12 years at Feltham Young Offenders Institute. Fr Roger worked part-time for six years at HMP Pentonville during his nine years as an Anglican clergyman before converting to Roman Catholicism. He has a passion to see men coming out of prison better supported, and was instrumental in establishing Nehemiah’s partnership with the British Association of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Family Support

Nehemiah’s Family Support programme helps Residents reconnect with their families, a significant motivator on the journey to recovery.

Our specialist Family Support Worker supports and advises Residents as they begin to take steps to communicate with family members. We know that when Residents have the support of their families, recovery becomes much more sustainable.

In addition, our Family Support Worker delivers support sessions to families in the community who are impacted by addiction.

Please contact Dawn on 07421 358329 or dawn.wilson@tnp.org.uk for more information.

Where We Work

Our Houses



This is an eight-bedroom house with communal facilities and a staff team on site.

The Recovery Programme Team deliver A New Future, our first-stage CBT-based course, here every morning, with some additional courses in the afternoon.

The house is very close to public transport links and is on the 249 and 319 bus routes, and is situated opposite Tooting Bec Common, close to the Lido.



This is a six-bedroom house with communal facilitiCBT-based recovery course, here every morning.

Nehemiah Works

Nehemiah Works is our employment and training programme for Nehemiah Residents, launched in March 2019.  The programme provides pre-employment training, help with CV writing, job applications, interview skills and coaching, so that Residents can live independently and lead more fulfilling lives, which we believe will benefit both Residents themselves, and their families.

Nehemiah Residents often come with years of expertise in a wide range of trades and industry. Our aim is for every Resident to receive as much support as possible to get back into work and training and thus ensure a more sustainable recovery.


Our 2023 Impact Report

2023 Annual Report and Financial Statements

Safeguarding Policy

We annually review our Safeguarding Policy, allowing us to respond to the changing needs and requirements of our service users and legislation.

Success Mapping Report

This report is a systematic mapping of the stories of success from The Nehemiah Project (TNP), and it aims to identify the unifying factors of transformation in each of the participants’ histories.

Rehabilitation by design

Influencing change in prisoner behaviour.

More Information 


Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials 2022

  • 020 8773 7417

Registered charity No 1058536

47 Tooting Bec Gardens

London SW16 1RF


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