Yorkshire Garden Party Raises £21,000 for Rehab Centre for Addicted Prisoners

A Yorkshire summer garden party held at North Cave, East Yorkshire, has raised a record-breaking £21,000 for a Hull drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for addicted prisoners.

More than 120 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 The Forward Trust.

Speakers at the event included Bal, a former client of The Bridges, who spoke movingly about how the Bridges had helped him to break the cycles of crime and addiction and saved his life, and Charlie Forbes Adam, Chair of Forward’s Fundraising Advisory Group in Yorkshire and former High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.

The evening was hosted by Thomas and Louise Martin of North Cave. Thomas is the Chair of the Hull-based safety company Arco, which supports the Bridges by offering employment opportunities to ex-offenders. He urged other Yorkshire companies to do the same stating that the benefits of doing so far exceed the mere need to fill skills gaps but also enhance employee satisfaction.

Charlie Forbes Adam said: “To raise more than £20,000 in an evening is absolutely amazing, especially for such a brilliant cause, so we would like to thank everyone who came. The support we receive in Yorkshire is humbling – and, as a committee, we are now only £20,000 short of raising £1m for the Bridges during the last seven years.

“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 inspired to see how they have turned their lives around – all thanks to The Bridges.”

Bal, who has been free from drink and drugs for four years, told guests that the Bridges had given meaning and purpose to his life: “I was on a spiral of self-destruction, an addict and a criminal with low self-esteem and no hope. The counselling and friendship I have found at the Bridges has been amazing. The Bridges has been absolutely wonderful for me. I cannot thank everyone there enough. They have saved my life.”

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. More than 60% of released prisoners will go on to re-offend within two years (MOJ 2016). Yet 76% of The Bridges’ clients who completed the programme in 2013-14 had not relapsed or reoffended within a year.

Douglas Dunsmore-Dawson, Forward’s Regional Manager for Yorkshire & Humber, commented: “A huge thank you to Thomas and Louise Martin for welcoming us all to their home 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-offenders 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.

“Given the cuts in public spending, we are extremely grateful to Charlie and his committee who have done an amazing job raising such a significant amount of funding and awareness for The Bridges not only today but for the past seven years. We are truly grateful for all their hard work and dedication to what we do.”.”

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.

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