RISE Moorland Reconnection Day

It’s been a few months since our successful weekend with RISE (Recovery and Integrated Service) on Dartmoor. We’ve stayed in regular contact and are now in the process of putting a joint funding bid together to continue the programme on a regular basis. We’ve also been in regular contact with the participants who’ve remained amazingly positive about their time with us on the high moor. It really does feel like it’s been a life changing experience for all those involved. What we’d hoped for and more.

What has always been close to my heart in this work is in finding a way of making the vision of ongoing support for our participants, beyond the powerful transformation of the residentials, to become a tangible reality. It’s a noble, crucial dream but the logistics to make this possible on the ground can be complex and a pull on our already stretched resources. But with RISE, it seems to be happening, slowly but surely, as a mutually beneficial, supportive partnership.

We met on Dartmoor last Thursday for the first of what will be a series of days together, reconnecting, sharing, walking, messing around (with an eye on health and safety!) and discovering ways we can continue to support this fine group of human beings. Within RISE they are collectively known as peer mentors and already have one to one supervision support there. Most attend regular 12 Step Recovery groups and therapy. What we are offering is working with them as a group, addressing the dynamics, the strengths and the challenges. We’ll be meeting once a month through the autumn, winter and into next year. We’ll evaluate the process as we go, to measure its success and viability for funding.

Tribe Warrior remains an important part of their time with us, using its themes as a guide for their own daily journey through life. One participant brought his along with great pride!

We had the usual offering of Dartmoor’s very own climate. Walking to the magical Bench Tor, with its dramatic view down into the East Dart Valley. The traditional Dartmoor Mizzle (mist and drizzle for the uninitiated) rolling down the steep sides of the valley into the river gave it an eerie feeling. We headed from the high windswept open moor, down into the woods, toward the river where heavy rain soon turned to welcome sunshine and clouds. My perfect Dartmoor day. Our mini trek finished by a gentle flowing part of the river where we wrote and talked and paired up to explore what challenges lay ahead and what support was needed. By the end of the day, a reconnection to land and our ‘tribe’ was made. Continuity and a reminder of where batteries can always be recharged.

I felt a sadness seeing them all drive off. Matched with a genuine joy in knowing I will see them all again soon. We’ll be meeting, back on the moor, toward the end of the month. I’ll be asking them to contribute to this blog page. Which I’m sure they will, with their trademark zest, humour and eye for the detail of the moors and more.

Caspar – Creative Director, Write to Freedom