Who we are
STAR was founded by Emma Heath. As a person with her own recovery story, she is passionate about bringing hope and healing to people who are trapped in addiction and compulsive habits. She lives in Bournemouth and enjoys the outdoors, thai boxing and watching the rugby!
Here’s Emma’s story in her own words:
“My name is Emma Heath. After 17 years of battling alcoholism and eating disorders I despised myself and had many times where I wanted to give up, I started on an addiction path at the young age of 11 where anorexia and alcohol became the norm. There are so many horrific stories of where addiction took me, from being kept hostage in a foreign country to being on probation for drink driving. At my worst, 15 years ago, I was drinking on average 2 litres of vodka a day and I didn’t want to live anymore, death seemed appealing.
However, 15 years ago my journey took a dramatic and miraculous positive turn. Through reconnecting with my faith and wonderful people supporting and encouraging me, I have been able to find freedom from addiction and completely transform my life. The added bonus is that I get the privilege of being able to give back and help people today through dedicating my work and passion to a huge vision of changing a culture around addiction.
Emma was recently interviewed by Canon J.John about overcoming alcohol addiction.
You can listen to the interview below…
I am so grateful for my personal story of recovery from addiction to freedom through faith, and I now know where my hope lies! Over the past decade I have led groundbreaking recovery work in my home town of Bournemouth and nationally. I love to see churches and organisations working together to bring the Recovery Course and other Christian approaches into the heart of the community and to look at addiction without the fear and stigma that is so often apparent.
My drive and passion comes from my own lived experience knowing that there is hope, having never intended to work in the addiction field, yet I now get to promote Christian addiction work all over the UK. I love public speaking and openly share my story in national newspapers, radio, hosting and directing two TV series on TBN UK and spoken at conferences and events. This amazes me as before finding recovery anxiety gripped me and I couldn’t be in a room with more than 2 people without fear of panic attacks. I believe in being obedient to God’s calling and have stepped out to pursue this vision, making a dream into a reality, with the ultimate aim to help people find freedom from addictions.
I also had the privilege of doing CPR on my mother 11 years ago when she had a cardiac arrest in front of me and helped her back to health and promote first aid to charities, having been the face of the Red Cross in a huge campaign to help people know about basic first aid. Lizi has now written a programme called the Recovery Support Group that helps people affected by addiction.
For the past nine years I have worked for several Christian Charities, volunteered and pioneered a large addiction ministry within a local large church and helped with chaplaincy roles. I came to be more directly involved in Christian recovery after becoming the National Partnership Director and Trustee of The Recovery Course. I saw a need to help churches and communities to holistically tackle addiction so that they are equipped to deliver support in this area of need.
In my roles, I am proactive in setting up courses in churches nationally in the UK and as far as Australia. Over the past 9 years in Bournemouth, I have facilitated the largest recovery course known in the UK, having over 1000 attendees over the years (which is unheard of for a course of this kind) and pioneered a new model where churches unite to run this course week after week for the whole year.
This work led me to start a local Recovery Project for the charity Faithworks in Bournemouth which has really taken off. In this region alone in Dorset, I work with many wonderful churches to embed and support addiction ministries, having established network meetings, recovery courses, 1-to-1 support and detox programmes. I was surprised to be shortlisted out of 64,000 nominations for the ITV National Diversity Awards for the UK’s Positive Role Model for Faith, Race and Religon which recognised my contribution to this vital work.
Through working with countless churches and organisations wanting to run addiction work and from the success of the Faithworks Recovery Project and seeing first-hand the overwhelming need for greater consistency and collaboration this is where STAR (Steps To Active Recovery) has been born.
I believe that we have the potential to change the culture in how volunteers are mobilised to make a significant impact upon the crisis of addiction.
I think back to 15 years ago when I was hopeless and saw no way out of such a dark time, yet I know through God and good people’s support anything is possible. I also believe that the church has a vital part to play in this transformation of society around the ever-growing epidemic of addiction.
I’m determined to enable more and more people to access support and find well-run courses and support across the UK. To help people see that there is always more light than darkness, always more light than despair. That’s what a STAR venue will be. A beacon to help people turn their battles into blessings.
STAR is a registered UK charity.
Meet our excellent Trustees.
Alistair has been CEO of Bournemouth based charity, Faithworks Wessex for 7 years. His varied career has spanned fair trade shops, the logistics of window glass, management consultancy in small Northern businesses, and senior roles in Local Government in a previous City of Culture!
His passion is to see churches fulfilling their God-given role of bringing hope to the marginalised by “walking alongside” people so that they not only get out, but stay out of crisis!
Jackie has been in full time church leadership for 32 years, and in the last five years in an itinerant teaching ministry. Until recently she was involved as a trustee of various community charities, having a passion for the church to be engaged in the locality.
Her heart is also to see people set free in Christ, so she is an advocate for Freedom in Christ courses. She serves as a volunteer for the National Freedom in Christ Teaching Team, Core Team and recently joined the Intercessor team for Europe. She has taught the courses for fifteen years and seen hundreds of people set free.
Currently living in Norfolk, serving on the local church leadership team. She loves walking, having adventure, photography and passionate about Jesus, seeing people set free!
We are blessed to have access to a fantastic group of knowledgable people who have supported the development of STAR and continue to provide their expertise as we push forward.
Karen is Director of Communications at Moorlands College and part of their Executive Leadership team. She is passionate about seeing people equipped to be all God created them to be. Prior to this role, she worked as Managing Director of Simplicate, a concept development digital agency based in Dorset.
Karen has consulted on the development of STAR and continues to champion Emma in her role as Founder Director.
Karen is married with three daughters, loves food and travel, and is a recent convert to Parkrun.
Bishop Debbie Sellin
Debbie has been the Bishop of Southampton since July 2019. Her previous ministry was in Guildford Diocese.
She grew up in Scotland and studied Modern Languages at St Andrews University. Debbie began her working life in NHS management in different hospitals across Edinburgh.
Debbie is married to Paul, who teaches Physics at Surrey University and they have two adult sons.
Lizi was a pharmacist for 40 years with a passion to help people especially the vulnerable and broken, and those who felt hopeless and not listened to.
She is now retired and founded the Recovery Support Group working with families affected by addiction, indirectly having an influence on their loved ones seeing many being set free. She is an active member of her local church and is involved in leadership.
She has many roles and has been awarded the Mayor’s volunteer of the year award for Bournemouth. She is creative and loves knitting and other crafts to support various charities in this country and abroad.
Harry was born in London and moved to Poole in 1978. Married with two adult sons he attends St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Branksome where he has served as a councillor and school governor to the affiliated primary school. He has been a committee member at The Victoria School for disabled children.
A supporter of various charities he is well aware of the evil forces in today’s society whose sole purpose is to lead others into addictions.
His loves include gym, golf, cycling, socialising, reading and Jesus the Godman and our Saviour.
Jenny is trained as an Accountant and has a BA in Applied Theology (Christian Leadership) from Moorlands College and is also trained as a Counsellor specialising in Addictions. Working as a volunteer for Waterfall and trained as a facilitator for the Genesis recovery program. She has a heart for the homeless and journeying with people through recovery.
Jenny and Denham are facilitators for Time for Marriage – retreat weekends for couples, and Bethel SOZO trained. Also part of Vineyard Emeritus supporting Vineyard Churches in the UK.
Denham ran his own Accountancy Business for nearly twenty years, and has an MA in Applied Theology (Christian Leadership) from Moorlands College. Denham has been a trustee for Bournemouth YMCA and currently a trustee for Portsmouth Street Pastors and another Vineyard Church.
Denham and Jenny Howard, church planters and Founding Pastors of Portsmouth Vineyard LifeChurch, and homeless drop-in ‘The LifeHouse.
Nathaniel is a Baptist Minister and leads a church in Bexley, South London. He specialises in mental health and addiction recovery and is a qualified personal trainer using fitness as a tool to help those he mentors.
Nat is a gifted communicator and speaks all over the country. An ambassador for Chris-centred recovery ministry over the last eight years, he has helped lead courses and train churches and individuals across the UK.
Nat has found healing from pain and trauma, resulting from rejection and abandonment. He experienced how these issues led to self-loathing and seeking validation from others. Low self-worth also led to a life of petty youth and car crime, burglary and drugs. Nat uses his lived experience and demonstrates a champion mindset to help others find emotional and physical healing. Nat is also co-founder and writer of the STAR Life Course.
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Learn about the STAR approach to recovery awareness and adoption of STAR standards.
Find out more about STAR
Learn about STAR’s aims, vision and values for our community recovery approach.