A DIOCESAN retreat house is to become home to military veterans and emergency personnel, as part of a project to help in their recovery from addictions.
Rydal Hall, the diocese of Carlisle’s retreat house and conference centre, is hosting groups of veterans from Tom Harrison House, a Liverpool-based centre that provides addiction treatment exclusively
for people with backgrounds in
the military and the emergency services.
The groups will stay a week at a time, and work on projects such as renovating the vegetable garden on the estate.
One member of a group that recently finished a week’s volunteering at Rydal Hall said: “It’s great being here in such a beautiful place. It gives us a break, and lets us get to know each other. These weeks really help with our recovery; we all enjoy it, and we’re all going to leave on a high, a natural high.”
The head gardener at Rydal Hall, Kate Jackson, said: “The Tom Harrison House people are amazing. They are incredibly motivated, and their work has enabled us to take on projects that would not get done without them.”
In the United States, a study found that 60 per cent of 140,000 military veterans had a substance-abuse problem, but statistics are lacking in the UK.
The military charity Combat Stress says that, of those who contact them for help, 75 per cent are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, two-thirds of whom have a past history of alcohol abuse. Of the other 25 per cent who contact them, many also have alcohol-abuse disorders.