The Carpenter's Arms story: re-building lives after addiction
About our addiction recovery programme
Referrals to our residential addiction recovery centres increase every year. With this growing demand on our service comes our pledge to continue our work to help as many as we can. We are excited for the future, and excited to see many men reclaim theirs.
Our residential programme focuses on using different units for different phases in recovery. This helps clients maintain a step-by-step mentality that we have found key to addressing addiction. First, we have Stepping into Recovery, then Life on Life’s Terms, and finally, Recovery in Action.
Learn more about our residential addiction support programme.
Meet our team of trustees and staff
The people at the heart of The Carpenter’s Arms
CEO: Richard Spence
Our CEO, Richard Spence, has worked in the sector for 15 years, and is committed to bringing lasting positive change to clients’ lives and the manner in which our programme is delivered.
Richard is always keen to spend time with other organisations to review practices, and work with our team on new pathways.
Director of Operations: Scott Wheatley
Scott has a wealth of experience from 30 years in the sector. Scott has set up similar projects, started enterprises and helped clients start their own.
Scott oversees the programme operations, diligently looking after the quality our clients receive.
Charity Chaplain: Bryan Spence
Bryan, with his wife Judith, started the works in 2008. Bryan has helped set up similar charities and has spoken into the lives of almost every client. Bryan is now the chaplain to the charity, having been ordained in July 2023.
Bryan helps maintain the core principles on which the charity was founded through team and client group sessions and one-to-one session where required.
Executive Director: Judith Spence
From founding the charity with Bryan, Judith predominantly oversees the graduation process for all clients from the programme and is often out networking, particularly with those helping veterans.
Judith’s work with veterans has become a focus for the charity and is work we continue to expand on.
Operations team: Referrals
A client’s first point of contact with our organisation is usually the referrals team. This team is dedicated to helping our clients find the right way into our programme if it is appropriate.
Part of the work of the referrals team is to discern and prioritise applications, ask some difficult questions and champion an application through to admission.
Operations team: Support workers
Most of our support workers have experienced addiction in their past and all have overcome it either through our programme or another. For those who don’t have a history of addiction, they have experience supporting those coming out of it.
Our support workers are passionate about seeing successful recovery achieved in all who want it.
Operations team: Pastoral team
Our pastoral team are all accredited therapists who now specialise in substance abuse. It is our practice that a client will remain with the same therapist from the beginning of their programme with us until the end, through all the phases.
Armed Forces Covenant
Commitment to veterans, reservists, cadet force adult volunteers, wounded, injured or sick, military spouses/partners
The Carpenter’s Arms commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant
Our involvement with the Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans began in 2019.
Having a long family history of Military involvement, Judith Spence, one of our Directors, wanted to integrate UK Military Veterans within The Carpenter’s Arms, making full use of the facilities we have to aid their recovery.
In 2019, we were honoured to sign The Armed Forces Covenant which states that we will treat Armed Forces Veterans Reserves and their families with equal opportunities. From this, we were able to achieve the Silver Award in 2022 and the Bronze Award in 2021 in the Defence Employer’s Recognition Scheme. This has only grown our involvement and sparked more intrigue into how we can facilitate and open opportunities for Veterans.
With the integration of the Armed Forces Covenant, it was decided by our CEO, Richard Spence, that The Carpenter’s Arms would champion a sponsored yearly space for a Veteran on the programme. We were put in touch with ‘Veterans Launchpad’ and within a few days, we had a Veteran coming onto our programme. It has been wonderful to see his improvement, and he now volunteers for us and champions our work with Veterans.
The Carpenter's Arms Philosophy
The atmosphere at The Carpenter’s Arms is what strikes people the most when they arrive. It is often described as “family” or “warm” or “very welcoming”.
We believe that recovery is best done in such an atmosphere where encouragement and good relationships do much of the work.
We believe that addiction is due to root causes and these need to be identified and addressed within a balanced healthy environment.
We endeavour to do this through group and individual sessions whilst demonstrating that a healthy enjoyable lifestyle doesn’t need artificial stimulants.
Substance abuse is viewed as a disorder of the whole person, affecting some, or all, areas of functioning. These may include behaviour problems, confused values, deficits in educational or occupational skills, moral or spiritual problems, relationship problems, attitude problems, work problems and/or family difficulties.
The following principles guide this treatment philosophy:
- Every participant, regardless of their circumstances, degree or type of addiction and/or extent of their emotional disturbance, is considered to be a person of worth and value.
- Your time with us is voluntary. You cannot be forced to learn or grow with us – it is your choice.
- Change comes as a result of action. It is important that you become an active participant in the programme.
Building a foundation for a brighter future
A safe and nurturing environment where individuals living with addiction can find unfailing support, care and guidance
When I left the Military, I had problems in my marriage and was a victim of domestic abuse. I totally lost it and turned to alcohol. The Carpenter’s Arms were willing to take me on and knowing they were signed up to The Armed Forces Covenant was a big thing for me. I have grown with the programme, and I have now got self-worth. I wake up every morning thankful. I’m blessed.
As a magistrate, I see the devastation of addiction to a person’s life, as well as their family and friends, when they end up in the Court system. The Carpenter’s Arms offers an opportunity, strategies and support to face and overcome addiction, and turn people’s lives around. It offers people hope at their lowest ebb to gain self-confidence and self-worth which are invaluable gifts.
Mrs Henrietta Chubb JP, High Sheriff of Leicestershire
I got out of prison on the 14th of December 2017 and went straight to The Carpenter's Arms and felt the labels go. My first clean test in 24 years felt amazing. I had never seen my little girls through clean eyes. It was overwhelming! All the victories that were coming for me just for being in this place.
I’ve known The Carpenter's Arms now for several years and it's great to see the way in which they have grown. What they've done in terms of supporting the defence community has been extraordinary. They show such great enthusiasm and such an ability to reach into people's lives.
Bruce Spencer, MoD Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands
Before my arrival at the Carpenter's Arms, I was lost in a very dark place, haunted by past memories, suppressed by the use of drink and drugs. A local Christian charity recommended The Carpenter's Arms and I was thrown another lifeline and my hope was restored. My spirit, body and soul have been renewed, and I have re-established family connections and built bridges I once burnt.
The Carpenter’s Arms is one of our alliance charities working in the area of addiction. We draw on their understanding of what's going on, and their work and solutions for people living with addiction. It helps support our policy and working forward to sustainable living and aspirations in life after addiction.
Steve Meadwell, Regional Manager (Midlands), Centre for Social Justice
I have been suffering from mental health for over 10 years and was addicted to crack, cocaine, cannabis, and steroids. My life was unmanageable. My life has changed completely and I’ve been able to see my son again. I was lost and broken and now I am blessed. I am now a House Dad in phase 3 and I’ve been put on the Pathways as a Support Worker.
I'm the trustee of the Carpenter's Arms and, this year, I’m also the Mayor of Charnwood. I first met Brian and Judith when I was a Magistrate Chairman of the Drug Rehabilitation Committee. The most rewarding experience was when I finished sitting on the bench and watched the amazing successes at The Carpenter’s Arms in capacity as a trustee. To sit and listen to the clients tell their stories, what they have done and how they have come out the other side with new beginnings, I think for me is the most rewarding. The court couldn’t do it, but The Carpenter's Arms did.
Councillor Margaret Smidowicz, Mayor of Charnwood and trustee of The Carpenter’s Arms
After years of hard drug addiction and causing a lot of pain and suffering for myself and my loved ones, I walked through the doors of the Carpenter's Arms. In the space of a few weeks, I started to see and think more clearly and within months my life had changed drastically for the better. I can't thank the Carpenter's Arms enough for giving me a second chance at life.
I've been an alcoholic for 3 years. Whilst it has been a challenge at The Carpenter's Arms, I have been clean for 1 month, have more energy and motivation to do things. A routine has helped me a lot, as well as being able to be around people which has helped me speak more easily. I am excited to go back to work and see my family more.
I was a broken man after 16 years addicted to heroin and crack, with no confidence or self-worth. Through coming to the Carpenter's Arms, I have been able to break free from my addiction, have learnt how to love myself, how to treat others and how to deal with everyday life without drugs. I am now happily married with 6 beautiful kids and have had a job for the last 6 years.