Like so many charities and not-for-profit organisations across the country, The Hebron Trust is dependent on voluntary support. So, we are delighted to hear from William (Bill) Armstrong who has been our patron for more years than he can remember and who gives so generously of his time to support us.

Bill has a huge amount of professional experience which is relevant to his role as patron of The Hebron Trust. A qualified lawyer, he spent nearly two decades as coroner, during which time he dealt with many deaths arising from substance use. He also sat as a Mental Health Tribunal Judge for thirty years.

How did you first hear about Hebron?
It all started when I was practising as a solicitor and was asked to help residents with legal issues – sometimes with the Police but much more often in dealing with matters relating to their children. From the time of my first involvement, I was struck by the care, compassion and sense of purpose of those running the project and the respect I have for the amazing work they deliver at Hebron remains to this day.

What were your first impressions when you visited?
The term “tough love” is often used. The twelve step programme is of course tough but love is at the heart of it all. So often those coming to Hebron have never really experienced love but only repeated rejection and hostility. At Hebron everyone is accepted and the most important part of what is provided is seeking to persuade people that they are loved, they are accepted and they are all of unique value. Once they learn to love themselves, they can learn to love others and then progress can be made towards tackling the addiction to which they have been drawn into.

Why do you think the rehabilitation programme Hebron offers is so successful?
Many women become addicted to substances because of life events or personal circumstances they did not create. They need firm support and to be given a sense of self-worth and purpose without being judged. It is no good just judging and condemning them. At Hebron all our residents are supported and helped to change the direction of their lives.

What do you think is the most important part of the rehab journey?
It is really important to get to get to grips with the underlying issues and crucially to engage with the whole person addressing their needs – physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual.

Why are rehab centres like Hebron so important?
Substance abuse is hugely damaging to society, not to mention that dealing with the issues caused by substance abuse costs us as a society a tremendous amount of money particularly when you consider the resources which are employed including police, courts, mental health agencies, prisons. Families and communities all suffer. It therefore makes sense to provide facilities which help people out of addiction. It is good for them and good for the rest of us.

What does it mean to you to be a Patron of Hebron?
I am immensely proud to be Patron of Hebron and regard it as a real privilege to be involved in such a great project which is really making a difference.

Finally, if you only had three words to describe Hebron House and the work it does what would they be?
Care. Compassion. Change.

Image courtesy of Denise Richards.