A Yorkshire summer garden party held at Garrowby Hall, near York, has raised a record-breaking £17,900 for a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.
More than 100 guests from across the county attended the event, which was held to raise funds for The Bridges in Hull, a residential treatment centre run by RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust).
Speakers at the event included James, a former client of The Bridges, who spoke movingly and eloquently about how RAPt had helped him to kick a life of crime and addiction. Charlie Forbes Adam, chairman of RAPt’s Fundraising Advisory Group in Yorkshire and former High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, also spoke. The evening was hosted by Lord and Lady Halifax of Garrowby Hall.
Charlie Forbes Adam said: “Former clients from The Bridges, mostly ex-prisoners who are now living productive lives free from drugs, alcohol and crime, sold raffle tickets and helped to make the evening the success it was. It was incredibly life-enhancing and humbling to see how they have turned their lives around – all thanks to The Bridges.”
James, who only left HMP Hull 12 weeks ago, told guests that the Bridges had given meaning and purpose to his life: “I was on a spiral of self-destruction, a heroin addict and a criminal with low self-esteem and no hope.
“The counselling and friendship I have found at the Bridges has been amazing. I have become reunited with my friends and my family and I am feeling so much better about myself now. The Bridges has been absolutely wonderful for me. I cannot thank everyone there enough.”
The Bridges has impressive results. Over half the prison population are serving a sentence related to drug addiction, and alcohol is a factor in over half of all violent crimes. Approximately 60 per cent of released prisoners will go on to re-offend within two years (National Audit Office, 2010).
Yet 76 per cent of The Bridges’ clients who completed the programme in 2013-14 had not relapsed or reoffended within a year.
Douglas Dunsmore-Dawson, RAPt Regional Manager for Yorkshire & Humber, said: “A huge thank you to Lord and Lady Halifax for welcoming us all to Garrowby today. What a spectacular setting and an amazing opportunity for us to tell people about The Bridges.
“Everyone connected with The Bridges believes passionately in the tremendous work it does to support ex-prisoners to transform their lives away from drink, drugs and addiction. This work is absolutely vital, not only in bringing lasting change to these men, but also to their families, communities and wider society.
“We are all acutely aware of the struggle to get funding to support The Bridges, both from public and voluntary income. Charlie and his committee have done an amazing job raising such a significant amount today, and in all of their impressive fundraising efforts across the year. We are truly grateful.”
The centre is very interested to hear from local employers in the Hull region, who might be interested in giving work experience or jobs to former clients of The Bridges, as well as from those interested in supporting the work with donations. Anyone who would like to support The Bridges can contact them on 01482 588454 or the RAPt Fundraising Team on 020 3752 5560.