The magic of Clouds can be ascribed to many different things – the tranquillity of its location, the dedication of the treatment staff and the power of peer support. However, the freezing temperatures and unprecedented snowfall last week brought this magic to the fore.


A heavy snowfall highlights things which would otherwise remain hidden: animal tracks become visible,  the serenity of a world without traffic becomes encaptivating and, as new bonds are formed, opportunities emerge to strengthen the power of a community in recovery.


Located deep in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, fortunately Clouds is rarely hit by heavy snowfall. However on the rare occasion this happens, such as it did last week, the tranquillity of our remote location, which our residents enjoy so much as they start their journey towards recovery, posed some practical problems. This called for our chef and our team of managers, nurses and counsellors to stay overnight until the snow disappeared as it became impossible for anyone to enter or leave the vicinity. One counsellor walked three miles to and from his home to ensure that our service and structure remained intact.


Like addiction, extreme weather can isolate people and severely disrupt families and communities. Last week at Clouds, however, we experienced a growing sense of solidarity as experiences were shared and feelings of hope were strengthened. Whilst our staff and clients drew strength from within their own community, they also reached out to our neighbours in the village of East Knoyle. The vicar from the local church held a service in our chapel and this proved to be an emotive spiritual experience for those who attended.


We’re extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication of the team and very grateful for the support of our neighbours. We have forged new bonds, made new relationships and ensured that, come what may, our clients continued to receive the highest standard of care and support.


None of us welcomed the snowfall as we braced ourselves for the blizzards and the ‘Beast from the East’ wreaked havoc, and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when the temperature rose, the animal tracks disappeared, and the drive reopened for traffic. However, whilst normal service has resumed somehow things are subtly different, and for years to come we’ll talk about three days in March which deepened the magic of Clouds.