Over a hundred people gathered in the Council Chamber of Blackburn Town Hall to celebrate the work of THOMAS in Blackburn and in other parts of Lancashire and Greater Manchester. THOMAS was set up in Blackburn in November 1994. It now provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation and recovery housing for people who struggle with addiction offering a pathway to a new way of living. It has helped thousands of people over the years.
Originally based in Blackburn, THOMAS has expanded its operation to Salford, Trafford and Bolton. It now has 10 recovery houses and is able to accommodate up to 70 individuals who require support and guidance through the difficult process of recovery and rehabilitation. Many of its service users may have lost contact with family, lost employment, suffer from isolation, have medical problems and debt issues.
In 2016 THOMAS took part in the international meeting initiated by Pope Francis looking at the global problem of drug addiction. Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences attended the Blackburn Celebration. He said: “Today, millions of victims have succumbed to addiction around the world. Addiction is one of the contemporary forms of slavery. It destroys autonomy and free will, partially or completely, by artificially suppressing and supplanting natural brain reward systems in vulnerable people. Addiction especially threatens young people, as the vast majority of addictions can be traced to initiation during adolescence. The THOMAS charity, encourages its service users not to lose their hope of being happy and recovering their own autonomy and freedom.”
Paul Cullen, a former service user from 20 years ago, returned to Blackburn to thank THOMAS for changing his life. He said “back then my life was in chaos. Now I am a professional counsellor and therapist living in North Yorkshire.”
Today THOMAS provides psychosocial interventions and is subcontracted with Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust. Father Jim McCartney said “working within a therapeutic community provides continues learning about the human condition. It’s good to see how our biopsychosocial learning is in dialogue with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”