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Opening times

  • Saturdays and Sundays
    8am-5pm
  • Mondays to Fridays
    8am-6pm
  • Café 16
    Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
  • FREE ENTRY

The Honest Truth

First published: March 2024

The Revd Jon Canessa, Newcastle Cathedral’s Lantern Initiative Lead, writes…

On Wednesday, 20 March, Newcastle Cathedral hosted a listening event called ‘The Honest Truth’ in Café 16. This event was coordinated by Deacon Tracey Hume (Recovery Church, Gateshead Poverty Truth Commission) and Newcastle Cathedral Recovery Church to promote a better understanding of and highlight the stigma associated with addiction and recovery.

The Honest Truth was organised by people with lived experience for invited guests from civic, business and third-sector leaders to highlight the ways services have added to their problems, not made things better. The stories illustrated how stigma and shame associated with addiction can result in people being labelled and not being seen, heard or valued as unique human beings.

Over 20 people with lived experience took part, telling their stories through a song entitled ‘See Me’, which they had written with songwriter Sean Cooney of The Young’uns. The event also included spoken word and ‘See Me’ tote bags that were designed and screen printed with the help of local artist Shiori Naruse (Northern Arts) and given out on the day.

The courage to tell their story – not from a place of hostility or blame, but from a desire to see change for the better – was  inspiring and powerful, even if at times it was uncomfortable to listen to.

105 people packed into the café to listen and were given the opportunity to reflect and respond to the stories they heard. Feedback from this event was gathered and services asked if they could use the film as part of their own training programme.

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who courageously participated in the event and to those who gave up their time to listen, reflect, and respond.

Listen to the song ‘See Me’, created for ‘The Honest Truth’ event.

Support the Cathedral’s work

Newcastle Cathedral is a registered charity and we are proud to be a force of good in the city and beyond. We offer a safe space where everyone – families, children, tourists, dignitaries, refugees, people in recovery and experiencing homelessness – can feel seen, valued, and at home.

In addition to our worship and mission, we highlight social justice issues, host events and exhibitions, proactively support our community, and deliver learning and engagement programmes.

We receive no regular support from external bodies and are committed to maintaining free entry for all to the Cathedral.

Living the Lantern

Established in 2020, Newcastle Cathedral’s Lantern Initiative seeks to be a beacon of hope for people traversing dark or difficult circumstances in life, creating and fostering spaces of belonging.

Find out more