Leicester

Drug charity to open "boutique hotel" in Leicestershire

Six hills
Image caption The Six Hills Hotel had stood empty for some time before being bought by the charity

A drug rehabilitation charity is hoping to open a "boutique hotel" and farm shop to be run by recovering addicts.

The charity, named The Carpenter's Arms after the disused Leicestershire pub it was formed in, has taken over the Six Hills hotel on the A46.

The £1m project will create 30 treatment beds but will also offer eight rooms for the public.

Organisers said they did not think people would be put off by the background of the staff.

Image caption Former addict Richard Cowlishaw said he was proof people could turn their lives around

As well aiming to bring in money from paying guests, the hotel will help train recovering addicts in service and building skills.

It is aiming for a partial opening by the end of 2017.

Richard Cowlishaw, who lost his banking job due to addiction, has been made manager at Six Hills.

He said: "Without places like this being available, I don't know where I would be - still addicted or dead maybe.

"Places like this are needed all over the country. It is a big opportunity for people who are in the same position as I was to come to change their lives."

Image caption The charity has invited concerned villagers to come to see the work for themselves

Judith Spence, from the charity, said they did not think people would be put off by the nature of the hotel.

She said: "These are people who want to change their lives."

"When members of the public come here, they won't know which members of staff are our residents and which live locally."

The charity acknowledged some nearby villagers objected to the plans, fearing it would bring crime and drugs to the area.

But they issued an open invitation to look around and said a visit would show there was no risk.

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