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Case Study 1: John Heaton

I first attended the West End Centre in 2015. The Jobcentre referred me because I was suffering with severe depression. My Mum had recently died, I had given up work 21 years before to care for her.  

I will never forget that day, I didn't want to be there (or anywhere) I remember looking at the table and not being able to meet Fran and Christine's eyes even though they were so friendly and understanding. When I went home I wasn't going to come back, but i'm so glad I did.  It was the beginning of the rest of my life. 

I started off just coming to the walking group,  I met lots of new people and they all made me so welcome, just getting out of the house into the fresh air, talking and getting fitter. I found that my mental health started to improve.  Once I felt a bit better I started a computer course at the centre, I earned certificates and learnt how to do all sorts of things on line. This gave me the confidence to apply to Bradford College where I completed a computing course.

Next came the allotment. I was involved right from the very beginning and was involved in setting up the project, I was also a keyholder, looking after the allotment and watering the plants at the weekends. By now I was starting to believe in myself more and was much better socially. I started attending the Cellar project and also studying English at Shipley College, I discovered a love of poetry (one of my poems is on the home page of this site). I Then completed a peer mentoring course and am now volunteering and mentoring  a young lady with mental health problems. 

My work experience at the allotment proved invaluable and I found a job working at Tong Garden Centre, where I now work full time.  I have lost several stones in weight and recently completed the Bradford 10k run.  This year I am going to run it again and raise some money for the West End Centre.

I feel like I have come full circle, i'm now coming in to give a talk to the Friends in Need group at the West End Centre on how i managed to deal with depression and get my life back on track. 

To anyone thinking of coming to the centre I would say; come, sit down and talk to the staff, then just attend. It changed my life and it can change yours. I am so proud of what i achieved, nothing can stop me now!

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