Bridges Main

Yorkshire garden party raises £13,000 for rehab centre for addicted prisoners

A Yorkshire summer garden party held at Dowthorpe Hall, Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire, has raised over £13,000 for a Hull drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre that specialises in supporting ex-offenders.

More than 100 guests from across the county attended the event, which was held to raise funds for The Bridges in Hull, the only residential treatment centre specifically designed for ex-offenders, run by The Forward Trust.

Speakers at the event included James, a client of The Bridges, who spoke movingly about how The Bridges has helped him to break a chronic addiction to drink and drugs and save his life, and John Byers, Interim Chair of Forward’s Fundraising Advisory Group in Yorkshire.

The evening was hosted by John and Caroline Holtby of Dowthorpe Hall.

John Byers said: “To raise over £13,000 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 delighted to have raised over £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.”

James, who has been free from drink and drugs for six months, told guests that The Bridges had given meaning and purpose to his life: “I was on a spiral of self-destruction, an addict 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 complete The Bridges treatment programme have not re-offended within a year.

Jessica Bailey, who manages The Bridges, commented: “A huge thank you to John and Caroline Holtby 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 drug and/or alcohol 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 extremely grateful to John 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 businesses 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 through donations, employee fundraising or volunteering.

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