The Lee Rigby Foundation is working to meet needs that are currently not met, by any Government agency or even the established charities, and that need is for a place of complete peace and safety, which provides the opportunity to 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, these people are at risk of developing depression, succumbing to hopelessness, and experiencing the disintegration of their lives.
Lyn Rigby has raised awareness of a particular problem relating to Forces’ families. After the loss of a serving loved-one, the support offered by the Ministry of Defence and the military charities is limited to just the immediate family. Due to the pressures on available resources, this is perhaps unsurprising, but it leaves many families unsupported in their time of greatest grief and need. Because Lee was married, Lyn and Ian Rigby and all Lee’s siblings no longer qualified for support, and they had to cope with Lee’s loss alone. Lyn is in touch with many other families who have felt similarly isolated in their time of loss.
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 of her loss 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 the 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.
What we have planned…
There is nothing like this kind of deeply peaceful place yet available to bereaved families and Veterans – the closest comparison is a Royal British Legion ‘Break House’, of which there are 4 in the UK, and they are essentially hotels in holiday resort locations. The ‘Break Houses’ provide much-needed and undeniably excellent escapes, but because Lee was married, the RBL conditions exclude non-immediate family (such as Lyn and her family), whereas the Lee Rigby House and Lodge will offer the opportunity to totally relax in a beautiful and tranquil countryside setting to a much wider community. You can also have fun if you want to – we’re only half-a-mile from Alton Towers.
The Lee Rigby House
The Lee Rigby House is a 2-family house has been made available for our Foundation’s use, on a quiet country estate in Staffordshire. It’s well into a complete refurbishment, and will be a lovely ‘Retreat’ get-away for those who need to escape from their everyday pressures and find complete peace and quiet. We’re looking forward to being able to bring families here early in the new year.
The house has been made available by partners of the Lee Rigby Foundation, the Kendo Nagasaki Foundation, and it is a precursor to a larger facility – the Lee Rigby Lodge.
The Lee Rigby Lodge
Just up the hill a little from the Lee Rigby House, the building that will become the home to the Lee Rigby Lodge 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.
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!