End of an era for Salvos refuge for lost souls

Captain Paul Morrice clearing everything out of Hadleigh Lodge in Leura.

Captain Paul Morrice clearing everything out of Hadleigh Lodge in Leura.

It has helped hundreds of people with drug, alcohol problems or gambling addictions, but after nearly a decade in the Mountains, the Salvation Army's Hadleigh Lodge will close its doors tomorrow.

Cuts in state government funding have forced the closure, which the Salvos clinic director of recovery services, Gerard Byrne, described as "very sad".

He said the centre had been funded through the state Department of Community Services but a restructure had led to funding cuts which left the Salvation Army with no alternative but to shut down.

"It's sad for the region because there is not a lot out there and people have to leave the region which makes it difficult for their families, particularly if those are families with young children," Mr Byrne said.

He said many people had come through the Leura residential facility over the years and "have had their lives transformed by breaking the cycle of addiction".

Captain Paul Morrice, who has been running the centre, said he understood that it had to close but he felt for the men who would miss out on a vital service.

"We understand the situation but we are very disappointed that the funding is gone and that there will be guys with addictions who won't have anywhere to go in the Blue Mountains."

Captain Morrice said the lodge had 11 bedrooms and could accommodate 17 live-in residents at any one time. He estimated at least 1000 had been helped at the facility over the years.

Both Mr Byrne and Captain Morrice thanked the local community who had been involved in the work of Hadleigh Lodge, including GPs, psychologists, the hospital, TAFE teachers and Centrelink.

"They have been very supportive, they have all helped," Captain Morrice said.

Mr Byrne said clients who were in the middle of drug, alcohol and gambling programs at Hadleigh Lodge will be relocated to other Salvation Army residences, either on the Central Coast or in Surry Hills.

"We are making sure people are properly placed," he said, though conceded that it would be difficult for many of them to move out of the Mountains.

Mr Byrne also encouraged anyone who needed help with alcohol, drug, gambling or other social problems, to contact the Salvo Care Line on 1300 36 36 22 or visit the website at salvos.org.au/recovery/.

The Salvos will hold a garage sale on August 2 at the lodge, which is at 6 East View Avenue, Leura.

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