Each year, we send a letter to the Halifax Courier asking them to thank our communities for their support throughout the previous year. Here is a copy of the letter for 2017 published today:
It’s the time of year that many of us reflect on the year passing, and look forward to what’s in store for the one ahead. It’s also a time that we at The Basement Recovery Project (TBRP) say thank you to all those who have helped us over the last 12 months to support people who are affected by the illness of addiction. In years past, we have also spoken about the climate that we work in, which has been both positive and negative over the years. However, this year, we would like to comment on the theme of ‘homes’ and what that means to each of us.
For many of our clients, home has been a difficult place and despite having a roof over their heads, it can be a place of sadness and fear. Some fear to live alone, and our Freedom Homes, that bring people together to support each other, can often be the difference between life and death. We are proud of these facilities and Calderdale and Kirklees have been fortunate to offer safe accommodation to people who need additional support in addressing their addictions.
Home may not necessarily be a physical space, but it may mean simply being at peace with oneself and the people around us, a sense of who we are. Many people who have been given the gift of recovery are able to experience this sense of home as peace. Our programmes and our community activities, funded by DISC, CGL, WY-FI and the local public health depts. of Calderdale & Kirklees, again make the difference between living and dying, and as people come into active recovery, we can see the peace that comes to them and their families, which can only be described as … priceless.
Home can also mean a place of coming together, like a school, a congregation in a church and it’s been especially lovely for many of us to have the Piece Hall back into our community; a home to welcome visitors from near and far that we can all to be proud of, and we wish it a prosperous and inclusive new year. Home, in the sense of coming together for people in recovery and addiction, comes from the staff, board and volunteers at TBRP in the form of our beautiful centres in Calderdale and Kirklees – places of safety and hopefully, a place people can feel at home, loved and a space to belong.
We can only do this by the generosity of people who support our projects, including the Firefighters of Rastrick, the Christadelphians, Asda, our PCC and his team, Halifax Bank, Tesco, Vanda, the Mission, Radio Aire, the local Rotary Clubs, the people from Rocket Rons and our friends from Lloyds. We have been helped by many more and it never fails to surprise us of the kindness of our communities in which we work.
So, in the spirit of kindness, it is important to take some time to consider how we can build on the generosity, and specifically, how do we, as a community, address the growing issue of poverty, homelessness and social isolation that continues to affect us.
Social Media and Facebook groups have provided a forum for discussion, information and ways to provide help to the growing instance of homelessness, poverty and the difficulties we have seen from the rollout of universal credit. We follow this up with facts that include an estimated 4,134 people sleeping rough in England on a single night in the Autumn of 2016. This was up by 16% on 2015 (source: Rough Sleepers Statistics Autumn 2016, England). Further, there were 75,740 households in temporary accommodation on 31 December 2016. 60,240 of these households included dependent children and/or a pregnant woman. There were 118,960 children or expected children within these families. (Statutory homelessness and prevention and relief, October to December 2016: England). Anyone who walks through the towns of Halifax and Huddersfield will have seen people on the streets, or know people affected by the hardship of universal credit. This is not a political response, but we do feel the need to remind people that society becomes more and more divided, and we face challenges to all the various concepts of a home.
Most of us are fortunate to have a home, so please do consider how you might help someone on the streets without a home, in active addiction and feeling isolated or suffering from mental health issues and unable to connect with their communities. This may be with time, money, campaigning or simply saying “hello, how can I help?”.
For 2018, we wish you all a place called home, and TBRP will work hard to help people achieve a sense of home in its various ways, “How can we help?”.
Michelle Foster, CEO, TBRP