The Lee Rigby Foundation is working to provide a place of complete peace and safety, where people can get away from all the pressures of the outside world, de-stress, and begin recovering from bereavement, or trauma, or both.
The stresses of bereavement and the consequences of traumatic experiences can be highly acute and profoundly life-changing, and such circumstances apply all too often to Forces’ families, active duty personnel, and Veterans. Often, they find that there is no escape from their personal anguish, which can drag on and on, and become an ever-heavier and more intense burden. Without the opportunity to ‘lift this weight’ from their shoulders, they are at risk of developing depression, succumbing to hopelessness, and experiencing the disintegration of their lives.
Lyn Rigby has raised awareness of the problem relating to Forces’ families. After the loss of a serving loved-one, the available support is limited by pressures on available resources, and this is perhaps unsurprising, but it leaves many families unsupported in their time of greatest grief and need. Lyn and Ian Rigby and all Lee’s siblings had to cope with Lee’s loss alone, and Lyn is in touch with many other families who have felt similarly isolated at such a difficult time.
However, even immediate families who do receive support can find that that their burden is not eased – as the mother of one fallen soldier has said, “Just being able to get away from all the questions and reminders would have been a huge help”.
Veterans too have expressed great interest in being able to escape to a place of complete peace and seclusion. It is not easy for Veterans to ask for help, as they have had lengthy and intensive training in being self-sufficient, but they are still thinking and feeling human beings, and are far from immune to the consequences of bereavement, stress, and even PTSD.
In fact, it is often the family which seeks help, because a Veteran may be so fully committed to just ‘coping’ with their feelings, but their need for help and their inability to seek it often result in their lives and relationships falling apart. One Veteran has said that just being able to get away to a place of complete peace and quiet would have enabled him to relax enough to finally have a good night’s sleep, which would have been immensely helpful to him at a time when he was “…in a bad place”, and help him to begin the healing process.
The Lee Rigby Foundation aims to support all people in these circumstances, give them a much-needed break from their troubles, and help them find the inner peace and strength they need to carry on into a positive, bright, and enjoyable future. By providing bereaved and traumatised people with a place where they can simply escape from the pressures of their lives and properly relax – often for the first time in a long time – they’ll have a starting-point for regaining their strength and perspective, and the ability to begin re-building their lives.
The need for facilities to help these people is most pressing, and we’re working hard to meet it.
On a secluded private estate in the beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands, we’re setting-up a deeply peaceful place for bereaved families and Veterans. The closest comparison might be a Royal British Legion ‘Break House’, which are essentially hotels in holiday resort locations, and while they provide much-needed and undeniably welcome escapes, they are only available to serving members of the Armed Forces and their families, whereas our facilities will be available to a much wider community, and will offer the opportunity to totally relax in a beautiful and tranquil countryside setting. You’re not completely isolated, however – if you want to have fun, Alton Towers is only half-a-mile away.
The Lee Rigby House
The Lee Rigby House is a 2-family house has been made available for our Foundation’s use by partner charity, The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation. It’s a lovely ‘Retreat’ get-away for those who need to escape from their everyday pressures and find complete peace and quiet. Set amidst beautiful mature trees and overlooking paddocks to the south, it’s an idyllic getaway with a wonderful natural atmosphere.
The House is now open and is available to any family who has lost a loved one in military service, no matter how long ago, and for Veterans and their families who need a getaway break.
It’s fully-furnished and has 4 bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms, a generous kitchen, several TVs, and free internet access.
The house is free of charge and self-catering – all you need to bring is yourselves and food for your stay, which can be just a day or two or a couple of weeks – it’s up to you.
Take a Tour of the Lee Rigby House!
If you and your family would like to stay at the House, please phone us during office hours on 01538 702949, or 07956 254145 or 07769 698268 at other times, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to welcoming you.
What we have planned…
The Moor Court Hall “Annexe”
The “Annexe” is an extension to Grade 2 Listed Moor Court Hall, which is owned by the Kendo Nagasaki foundation, and they have made it available to our Foundation. Built in 1914, the Annexe has served as various kinds of accommodation in various guises up to 2005, and we’re delighted that we’ll soon be able to dedicate it to Veterans in need of a serene getaway. There will be 13 rooms, a sitting room, a kitchen, and the facility will be fully catered. We’re refurbishing the building now (with the help of some incredibly skilled Veterans!), and we hope to have it available during the 3rd quarter of 2017. At the same time, in an adjacent building, we’re refurbishing a large 4-foot-deep therapy pool, a gym, and an art room, and these facilities will be available to those staying at the Annexe and the Lee Rigby House. Your help can make all this happen sooner – just hit the “Donate!” button below, or get in touch with us if you can donate furniture or other goods, or your skills and time.
The Lee Rigby Lodge
Just up the hill a little from the Lee Rigby House is the building that will become the home to the Lee Rigby Lodge. It is good and sound, but it needs refurbishing and equipping with such things as new windows, a new heating system, new sanitaryware, and new furnishings throughout. We’re now working towards raising the necessary funds for all this work – this is a big project, which we are looking to start as soon as we are able to accommodate guests at the Lee Rigby House and the Annexe building, so, once again, your donations and support will make this happen sooner.
Veterans and forces families have already visited the site of the House and Lodge, and have universally said that the location seems to automatically lift any feelings of stress and tension, and that staying there for a week would be very calming and empowering. We look forward to welcoming them back to the completed ‘retreats’, so that they can indeed relax, de-stress, and find the strength to re-build their lives.
As can be seen from our Foundation’s Mission Statement, we seek to offer many other areas of support in conjunction with the House and the Lodge, including counselling, ‘Sports Recovery’, help for parents, children, siblings, spouses, and friends, as well as ‘Career Support’ via our friends at Cross Deck. We’ll be working with our partner organisations to make all this happen as soon as possible.
You Can Help Us!
Please help us to make all this happen as soon as possible. Lyn has always said that she wants the Foundation’s support to be available free-of-charge to those who need it, and all our work is funded from donations. As a Registered Charity, we’re doing everything we can to bring Lyn’s vision to life, and help all those who are not currently supported, yet urgently need help.
We’ve been overwhelmed at the generosity of everyone who has already supported us on our journey – please see our “Thank You!” page, and if you help us too with a fund-raising event or activity, you’ll see your name in lights on that page too!