On Friday 15th September 2017, 14 members of the local recovery community will be coming together to cycle 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington over the course of four days. Those taking part have been training for a number of months; prior to which they had little or no experience of cycling any significant distance…
Before coming into recovery my Friday night’s and Saturday mornings would have been spent either watching some rubbish on TV or just wishing the hours away with a book or DVD. Each day was basically a case of existence and reduction of my medication with loads of self-pity thrown in.
Yet in recovery I was asked if I wanted to go ‘Wild Camping’ for 24 hours which involved walking up Pendle Hill and sleeping in the wilds with just a bivvy bag, sleeping bag to lie in and a waterproof camouflage sheet (tied at each corner with rope on to a tree/branch on an incline) to keep the wind and rain off.
At first, I thought they were mad – but I agreed to go and it turned out to be a fantastic experience – although trudging up that hill in a downpour was hard going. I found it really tough on my legs since they have spent more time static than in motion. Yet I can honestly say that the ribbing of each other kept us either laughing. We had a smile on our faces from start to finish.
The views from the top of Pendle Hill, once the rain had stopped, were eye catching – valleys and beautiful countryside for as far as my eyes could see; unspoilt by council estates and housing.
On the Saturday morning, we all had a brew and packed everything away so there no signs of our stay left. Our litter was burned or thrown back into our rucksacks. This time, on the return journey, we hiked around the base of the hill and again the jokes, ribbing and laughter flowed.
I’d like to pick out one of the really funny bits. I could say it was when one of one of the girl’s feet sank into the wet, muddy ground and out came her foot minus her boot. Or when the boss was in her basher (our improvised tent) and she put a net bag over her head (I think maybe it was to keep slugs off – but to be honest she looked hilarious). It’s hard to pick one highlight because it was the whole experience and the slightly mad humour of those that I shared the trip with that was just fantastic.
It was hard going for me but I kept going and completed it, thanks to all who came, for their mental humour, fantastic outlook and the camaraderie.
So, anyone reading this who has been considering any form of recovery activity – I say do it!
You will love the experience and laughter plus all the care and consideration of your fellows and staff in recovery. I was all for dodging activities – but no more! Let the games begin as I will be there and so should you be.
Also, some massive thanks have to go out to Graham, Wayne and John from Activate who led us on this hike and shared their experiences of how to camp out in the wild and leave no footprint! Thank you, to everyone involved!
“I’ll always be proud of him”, says young woman who skydived in father’s memory.
Abi Mae Haley’s father sadly passed away in 2014, shortly before her 15th birthday. He had struggled with alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, though he had started to turn his life around, the illness had already taken its toll. Abi recently completed a sponsored skydive to raise funds and awareness of addiction and where to get help.
“Kirklees in Recovery worked with my dad to plan the best road to recovery. I honestly saw a change in him in such a short period of time, a change so good that he started to plan for his future again. Maybe, just maybe, if he had found this place of support sooner, things would be different.
Before Dad passed away I was sent a video of him training to do a sky dive. I looked at this frequently and I could see that he was, at last, doing something that made him happy. That’s where I got the idea to raise awareness of the place that helped him, and to finish something that he started.
I take my hat off to the people working at Kirklees in Recovery as I know first-hand some of the difficulties they must face every day, but I also know how amazing it is to see the small improvements in the people they work with”.
On Father’s Day, Sunday 18th June, Abi Mae completed the skydive her dad had been training for. She set up a crowdfunding page and reached her £500 target.
“I was terrified at the thought of doing a skydive, but like many of those who suffer from addiction, I faced my fears and the result was amazing. The money I donate to Kirklees in Recovery will go towards making a difference to the lives of those who they help; from providing the smallest of things like a cup of tea and a friendly chat to helping to support their recovery programmes which can be the difference between recovery and relapse. Helping Kirklees in Recovery can also help to provide extra services in more rural communities, reaching out to those who are most isolated in our local areas.
I never thought I would lose my dad as soon as I did, but I will always be so proud of the man he was and I hope that I am making him proud now by inheriting his strong and positive outlook in life, and by making the most of what I have now. I chose to donate to Kirklees in Recovery because even the smallest amount of money could make a difference to someone’s life, as well as their families and friends”.
September is National Recovery Month and Kirklees in Recovery started celebrating by walking from their Dewsbury recovery hub to the Huddersfield hub on 1st September where Abi presented a cheque for £717.
Event organiser, Sheena West, said,
“Recovery Month is to raise awareness of addiction, to help reduce the stigma surrounding it and to let people know there is help. Everyone knows someone who knows someone affected by addiction, yet we all try to ignore it because we don’t know how to help. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious illness and many people have no idea that you can recover and lead a better life, free from the need or desire to use any mood-altering substance.
We have been amazed at Abi Mae’s fundraising. She has shown a strong and positive attitude at such a difficult time in her life and she is an inspiration to all of us. She has truly done a wonderful thing and I know her dad would be very proud indeed. Her generosity will directly help those with addiction issues. She is always welcome at our project and we wish her every success in her future”.
With thanks and much love from us all at KiR x
Abi’s story was also covered in The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Saturday 12th August saw a great plan come together at the Kirklees in Recovery Summer Family Day Event, held at Union Bank in Huddersfield.
The event was organised by the KiR steering committee with the help of many volunteers, family members and Haven. Our aim – to remain close to our constitutional aims and objectives – raising awareness of recovery and helping to reduce the stigma associated with addictions, and of course, to raise a little money along the way.
We had a variety of games and stalls to keep people occupied. Prizes and food were sourced by our ever-growing community of organisations that support Kirklees in Recovery which made for a great raffle and tombola.
We were also supported on the day by members of Halifax Bank who promised to match fund our first £500. Gillian really got into the spirit (and swing) of things when she took part in the dance lesson, kindly facilitated by Curly Wurly Dance Studios.
The highlight of the day, of course, was watching the families enjoy themselves, the children (and a few adults) had a ball with Peppa Pig and Iggle Piggle and the various activities on offer.
It was heart-warming to hear one girl say, “I’m looking forward to moving back in with my mum”, knowing that she has her mum back for good.
The feedback from everyone involved was great and we also noticed more of the general public and other communities getting involved.
Our thanks go to everyone who helped, attended and made the day special, we raised a terrific £1400.
Of special note, we must thank Halifax Bank, for not only match funding £500 but for also presenting a cheque for £5000 to help develop our planned café at Union Bank. Plans are well underway and we will bring more news soon. Our support from the Bank also extended to them helping us to enhance our digital skills, a massive thank you to James Stott.
This is what James had to say about the project:
“I must say on a personal level, I was touched and admired the amazing work you and the volunteers do. You are all genuinely inspiring people and I often read about people’s personal struggles but to see it first hand and hear/see what you do took it to a whole new level. I see situations at work where people react to something as if it is life or death when in fact it is minor in the grand scheme of things but to see the job you do is literally life or death for people puts things into perspective and is something I took away from spending a few hours with you and the team. Genuinely – thank you and great work”.
Thank you, everyone!
“We spent two wonderful days just outside Settle at Hortons Women’s Retreat in the first weekend in June. To be honest, the thought of 15 of us all together came with a slight nervousness as to how we would last an entire weekend. Not everyone knew each other from across the TBRP hubs so it was a great way to connect and do some bonding, especially as we were sleeping in bunk beds, cooking, and generally supporting one another.”
I’m really grateful that I was given the opportunity to be part of a wonderful and educational weekend – attending a mutual aid convention in London. It was great to be around like-minded people – many living their clean journey and others wanting and working towards that.
We had quite an amusing journey to London. I think we might have been the loudest people on the train. We were laughing, joking and playing cards all the way there. Someone joked that we were probably ‘the cleanest’ on the train as well! Just goes to show that you don’t need a substance to have fun!
The Basement Recovery Project is pleased to announce it is one of just 42 Yorkshire based community groups, who in its latest round of awards have been recognised by the prestigious royal reward scheme The Duke of York’s Community Initiative. Presented annually to charities and community support teams working exclusively within Yorkshire, the award is a highly regarded sign of excellence.
TBRP is honoured to be receiving the DOYCI award for a second time and we are looking forward to two very special award ceremonies. The first is a “home county” presentation day at which each of the region’s Lord Lieutenants will present the successful award holders with their DOYCI certificates; the second is a reception at St James’ Palace, London hosted by HRH The Duke of York.
Michelle Foster, TBRP CEO said “Receiving the award for a second time is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the project. I would like to thank all our staff, volunteers and supporters of the project for their continued support. We have come a long way since our first award in 2011. We have relocated our Halifax service to a bespoke recovery hub in the town centre where we have 24/7/365 access. We have expanded our programmes, activities and provision of mutual aid meetings and we have purchased additional housing and now offer various staged therapeutic residential recovery services in addition to detoxification accommodation.
Through our learning in Calderdale, we have recently established two new recovery hubs in Kirklees; Huddersfield and Dewsbury enabling us to expand our reach in helping people with drug and alcohol related issues. As the recovery communities in the towns we serve continue to thrive it is with immense pride that we have yet again received royal recognition for our work and this will be shared amongst all the TBRP family.
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About the DOYCI:
Visit the TBRP website: www.thebasementproject.org.uk or contact Michelle Foster, CEO, 01422 383063, email@example.com
As we approach the end of Year 5 of our Big Lottery Funding, we look back in pride at the distance travelled and the learning undertaken as we have, over time, redesigned service provision across the Kirklees area.
September was the 26th International National Recovery Month where we as individuals who have reclaimed our lives can really promote and celebrate the virtues of what being in recovery actually means. We do this not just with each other but by offering ourselves as living proof of recovery, a visible presence of hope to those that still suffer whilst challenging stereotypes, judgements and myths about addiction.