The Closure of Hope House (April 2018)

We were very saddened to hear the news that Hope House, the Clapham residential addiction treatment centre for women, has closed.  We are sad because not only does that mean that 22 more treatment beds are being lost from the national stock, and indeed the London stock, but also because we were similar to Hope House in many ways.


Unlike Hope House, we can say that closure is certainly not on the cards for Mount Carmel – we are very well placed for the foreseeable future.  However, the similarities mean we know the value, the benefits, that Hope House contributed, and how it will be missed:


  • Like Hope House, we are London based
  • Like Hope House, we address a specific client group
  • Like Hope House, introducing our clients to AA provides its own “aftercare for life”


Like Hope House, we are London based

We think there is a role for the out-of-town rehab, for clients with needs that fit that model, and of course there are many such treatment centres with excellent track records.  However for many Londoners, which our clients are mostly, there is also a need for local, London rehab treatment.  The benefits include:

  •         Easier access to aftercare for the client - we offer free aftercare for life when our clients “graduate”, and it’s usually just an easy bus-ride away for them to come to aftercare
  • ·         A client’s family can easily attend family sessions – we hold regular sessions for partners/spouses, to help them deal with the impact of their other half’s drinking.  Again, usually just a bus ride to travel
  • ·       It’s easier and safer for a residential client to make family visits towards the end of their stay, to take their re-integration in stages
  • ·       Some clients move to day treatment for the last weeks of their stay with us, which would be impossible at greater distances.  Such a transfer only takes place when it is beneficial to the client, and of course any costs to a Local Authority are reduced.

Like Hope House, we address a specific client group

Hope HouseHope House was exclusively for women, and we know that there is a special need at times for women only rehab.  We know this in part because women are heavily represented in our client numbers, and always have been, and we are seen by many as creating an atmosphere which is particularly helpful to women.

Having said that, our own specialism is alcohol addiction.  All our clients have alcoholism as their primary addiction, (although many, recently most, of our clients have additional issues).  That means that the “identification” so central to group therapy is easier to achieve. 

Different clients have different needs of a treatment centre, and any reduction in the range of choices is detrimental to the client and to their public funders.

 Like Hope House, introducing our clients to AA provides its own “aftercare for life”. 

We use a range of treatment methods to address our clients’ issues, including CBT, psychodynamic therapy, plus specific approaches to mental health issues and dual diagnosis.  But at the core is the 12 Steps of AA, and mandatory attendance at meetings.

That means two things.  One is that many graduates continue to attend and benefit from ongoing support in their pursuit of true recovery – not just the recovery of not drinking, but ongoing recovery and improvement in every aspect of their lives.

The second benefit is the support that these graduates give to the recovery community in London – a vital community health resource.  In most AA meetings within 10 miles of Streatham, a mention of Mount Carmel will get a few nods and smiles around the room!


So, we can’t turn back the clock, Hope House has indeed closed, and the world will move on.  But we see it as just one more reduction in the help available to alcoholics, and inevitably the cause of increased suffering to a number of disadvantaged and vulnerable women in the future.  The only conclusion is that the rehabs that are still left, and all those other people and agencies working tirelessly with this client group, will have to work harder and smarter to try to mitigate the fallout.