A major Appeal has been launched by church, community and mental health leaders to save a North Yorkshire residential, therapeutic retreat centre.

Holy Rood House, in Sowerby near Thirsk, has launched an Appeal to raise £1,250,000 to buy Holy Rood House, and continue its work of healing into the future.

Pictured right, (l-r) Tim Madgwick QPM, the Revd Elizabeth Baxter, Revd Leslie Newton, and the Rt Revd Paul Ferguson with a model of Holy Rood House, at the launch of the appeal.

The Revd Elizabeth Baxter, Executive Director of the Centre for Health and Pastoral Care, said, “The Centre currently rents Holy Rood House, and the House’s owners are now wanting to sell Holy Rood House and its grounds to the Charity. This gives us a unique opportunity to buy Holy Rood House and continue helping people in their time of need.

“Over the past 25 years, Holy Rood House has helped many hundreds of people, of all ages, in crisis. People like ‘Amy’, who was referred to us by the university chaplain: she had been attacked in her room and was in great distress. She did not want to inform her parents and did not feel safe at university. After three weeks with us she felt able to re-join her course and, with the support of the university, completed her degree.

“If we are not able to buy Holy Rood House, we risk losing this unique, safe space, when people feel their lives are unsafe. People who are unwell, stressed or distressed - especially those who have suffered abuse as well as carers and those living with mental health breakdown - find inner calm and peace within a gentle Christian ethos. Supported by the residential community, creative arts and therapies, counselling and spiritual accompaniment, our guests find themselves on their journey of healing and well-being.”

Tim Madgwick QPM, Chair of City of York Council Mental Health Delivery York and Chair of the City of York Adult Safeguarding Board said at the launch, “For many years I have seen how the lack of appropriate mental health care and support can devastate the lives of individuals and their families. There is an urgent ongoing need for centres that provide professional care and respite for people who are struggling with aspects of their mental health. Holy Rood House is one of those unique environments and as such needs to be supported and developed to ensure a long-term future so it can continue to change the lives of individuals from across the region and the United Kingdom.”

The Rt Revd Paul Ferguson, Bishop of Whitby helped launch the Building Into The Future Appeal. He said, “There are people alive here today who wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for Holy Rood House. It is a special place, where welcome, hospitality and reflection on God can come together. This launch is the first practical step into Holy Rood House’s next chapter, continuing to make an impact on our whole society”.

The Revd Leslie Newton, Methodist Chair of the Yorkshire North & East District, was also at the Appeal launch. He said, “I am appreciative of the richness, depth and breadth of the healing offered at Holy Rood House. It is a vital part of the Christian church and the work of Christ. I look at Holy Rood House and see something special: God’s healing grace”.

Peter Wright, BVSc, MRCVS, star of Channel 5's Yorkshire Vet and partner of Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk, is also supporting the launch. He said, “I was born here in Thirsk, and there’s little provision here for people who want to get off and have a rest from it all. The pace of life and the pace of change is increasingly too much for people, and it’s so important to have places like Holy Rood House, especially in places like Thirsk. It would be a massive loss to Thirsk if Holy Rood House disappeared. All the drugs in the world won’t help if you don’t have somewhere to listen and somewhere to retreat”.

The work of Holy Rood House is internationally recognised: last April, the Revd Elizabeth Baxter received the Langton Award for Community Service from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby for Holy Rood’s work in developing counselling, healing and inclusion for those marginalised by the Church.

As well as those present at the launch, the Appeal to buy Holy Rood House and secure its future, is also supported by:

  • The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord (Rowan) Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury and Patron of the Centre for Health and Pastoral Care
  • The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London and former UK Chief Nursing Officer
  • The Rt Revd James Newcombe, Bishop of Carlisle and the Church of England's lead Bishop for Health

Supporters can donate by bank transfer to HSBC plc, sort code 40-28-16, account number 41227572, or by sending a cheque made out to ‘Holy Rood House’ to:

Building Into The Future Appeal
Holy Rood House
Centre for Health and Pastoral Care
10 Sowerby Road