Stories of addiction recovery championed at The Carpenter’s Arms’ annual celebration

Uplifting stories of drug and alcohol addiction recovery were celebrated by an audience of some 150 guests at our annual celebration event.

The event, which took place at King Power Stadium on Friday, 21st June, was attended by the Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire Professor Robert Allison CBE, who presented on the vital role the Loughborough-based charity plays in improving the region’s rates in recovery from addiction, the new Mayor of Charnwood Julie Bradshaw MBE, East Midlands Chamber along with many more supporters. Befitting of the choice of venue, former captain of Leicester City Football Club Steve Walsh was also on hand to share his insights on overcoming adversity.

Professor Allison said,

“I was delighted to open The Carpenter’s Arms annual celebration and expo on behalf of His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mr Mike Kapur OBE CStJ. The services and support that the charity provides are so valuable, helping men across Leicestershire and beyond to overcome addition to alcohol or drugs, allowing them to gain employment, restore their relationships, and achieve independent and healthy living. It is right that we take the time today to celebrate the success of those who have completed the programme, as well as those who have supported them on this journey to recovery.

“Every participant in The Carpenter’s Arms programme is unique, and regardless of their circumstances, the degree or type of addiction, or the personal challenges they have faced, the charity aims to support, challenge, and respect all of its residents. With a focus on purposeful activity, residents are able to maintain a step-by-step mentality which is key to addressing addiction, and to find strength and solidarity in the community that The Carpenter’s Arms provides.”

Richard Spence, Chief Executive Officer of The Carpenter’s Arms, added,

“Our celebration event is the most important date in our calendar but the devastating fire at our Six Hills residential centre in March meant it almost didn’t go ahead. The generosity of our headline sponsor Ian King Financial Planning and our graduate awards sponsor Teddy’s Raw Pet Foods thankfully made sure that wasn’t the case.

“There were many parts of the day that elicited strong emotional responses amongst our audience, not least when recent graduate Ross described his recovery from addiction and played the video where he captured the moment he made an unexpected visit home to see his daughter (to date, Ross’s video has garnered over 3 million views and 187,000 likes on TikTok).

“That story of hope, love and a determination to fight for a clean and dry future and all that comes with that, is entirely relatable. As one guest described it, they never imagined a business event would bring them to tears but such is the power of our residents’ testimonies.”

The charity’s vital work is supported by its tireless fundraising efforts. A 24-hour bike-a-thon on the day, made possible by sports equipment supplied by Everyone Active, has helped push the charity’s fire appeal fundraiser to within a few pounds of its £20,000 target. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at The Carpenter’s Arms GoFundMe page.

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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.

Brian, resident

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.

Garry, resident

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.

Bradley, resident

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.

Blake, resident

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.

Marcus, resident

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.

Rob, resident

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.

Scott, resident