Photo: statue in Rydal Hall grounds.

Rydal Hall assists ex-forces to tackle addiction

Rydal Hall assists ex-forces to tackle addiction

23rd January 2017

The calm and beauty of Rydal Hall, in the heart of the English Lake District, is providing working breaks to groups of volunteers from Tom Harrison House, a specialist facility providing addiction treatment exclusively to military veterans, reservists, emergency personnel, and their families. After a successful trial last year, four groups of 15 to 20 people will stay at Rydal Hall and work on projects that benefit the environment and community as part of their treatment programme. They have already made great progress on renovating the Hall’s neglected vegetable garden.

Kate Jackson, Head Gardener at Rydal Hall 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.”

PJ, Recovery Lead for the group 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 need for places like Tom Harrison House is growing partially because of involvements in conflicts over the last 15 years. There is a drinking culture in the forces and many who have witnessed traumatic events can end up self-medicating on alcohol or drugs to cope with their experiences. When it comes to seeking treatment many find it difficult to be alongside civilians who may not understand the experiences some have been through. However more are seeking treatment and Armed Service chiefs are determined to deal with the drinking culture and increase treatment for those with addictions.

Last March, Tom Harrison House was awarded a large grant, in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Trust and The Royal British Legion (TRBL) to jointly provide “The Veterans National Community Recovery Project” across the UK for a period of two years. The volunteers are greatly appreciated by Rydal Hall and the partnership is continuing with four groups a year heading to the hills to volunteer.

Andy Carling, who works on the Rydal estate said, “The impression you get of the volunteers is what lovely people they are and how those who are tackling addiction come out of the process as nice, thoughtful and better people. “If anyone out there knows an ex-forces member who is having problems with drink or drugs, give Tom Harrison House a call, they are working miracles and we’re proud to be helping them.”

Rydal Hall is owned by the Diocese of Carlisle in the 1960s, who run it as a Christian retreat and conference centre. For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at

Tom Harrison House is a specialist treatment centre, based in Liverpool
Their website:
T: 0151 909 8481

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