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38/40 Grant Street, Inverness, IV3 8BN


tel:  01463 237969 or 07717457247

Changing Lives Through Enterprise

Who are we?


‘For the Right Reasons’ (FTRR) is a charity registered in Scotland (SC037781). We work in Merkinch, which is an area of Inverness that is one of the most deprived in Scotland. Over 40% of the working age population is unemployed and 10% of the whole population is on incapacity benefit or disability living allowance.


What are our aims?


Our purpose is to help people who want to conquer their drug or alcohol dependency by giving them unconditional, un-judgemental support and friendship throughout the whole process, from the time they make the personal commitment to get clean or dry, to the day they can re-integrate with society. We work with other agencies to change peoples’ lives.


We do this ‘for the right reasons’ - and not for personal gain or kudos or power, but out of a genuine desire to help sick people get well.


Why Merkinch?


Our work began in 2008 in Merkinch. This is an area in Inverness of a few square miles with a population of just over 4,000. There are around 300 people dependent on alcohol and about 150 dependent on opiates. A growing number of these are teenagers. Based on Scottish Government figures, the social cost in the area of these addictions is about £8,000,000. This is the cost to individuals, families, the community and the government in terms of community suffering, social security, crime and healthcare. We make a positive impact on the lives of people we know. And now we are happy to go beyond Merkinch, so please get in touch if you would like to chat.


How did we start?


Our founders, Simon Harrison, a local GP and Richard Burkitt, an Episcopal Minister, are keen cricketers. At a match in the summer of 2006, the team’s fast bowler failed to turn up and, on enquiring, they learned that he was probably out hunting for heroin. Shocked, they determined there and then to do something about it. For the Right Reasons grew from this and was registered as a charity in February 2007. In April 2007 we opened a charity shop in Merkinch and recruited a Project Manager, Geoff Gibson, himself recovered from drug and alcohol addiction.


What have we achieved?


In February 2008, we were awarded a Lottery grant to expand our services. As a result, as well as our Project Manager, Geoff Gibson, Richard Burkitt is now Project Director and we have two drug support workers - Kevin Swanson and Walter Skinner plus around 12 regular volunteers. Many of the people who work with us have themselves recovered from drug or alcohol addiction, some with our help.


One interesting side effect of what we are doing is its impact on the community. To date we have brought 3 unused properties into use on Merkinch’s main shopping street. Merkinch has high unemployment and more and more people who do not have addiction problems are coming forward to help. Our charity shop is becoming a social centre for older inhabitants who meet there regularly to pass the time of day.


We are still growing and have much work to do. We need your help to do this. Recently we have been awarded grants from the Peoples Health Trust, the Robertson Trust and the Highland Council  Thanks to this we are able to run a supported volunteer programme offering volunteer placements in our three Social Enterprises.



We have received a huge amount of help and advice from Anne Sutherland  from Merkinch Partnership who is a fount of all knowledge.  Much thanks to her and the support of local councillors.

The Merkinch Partnership