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!