I was 16 when I was homeless and, despite securing a permanent home, the belief that I was damaged goods escalated to
numerous failed relationships, cocaine, and alcohol. That all changed when I was introduced to a book by Sydney
Banks called “The Enlightened Gardener”. Within three hours I was sobbing and felt a wave of relief wash over me. I
couldn’t tell you what it was that I read but ‘something’ triggered deep inside and I saw for the first time that I wasn’t broken.
From then, my life has changed in ways I never dreamt was possible and I started to share my story.
Whilst volunteering with “The London and Slough Run” on a bitterly cold night in Waterloo in London 2017, the cutting
wind chilled me to the bones despite the layers of clothing I had worn… I watched the man walk away towards his home on
the streets and as he turned around, he smiled and said: “keep spreading the good word”. I saw at that moment that I could
help others survive on (and later off) the streets using what had transformed my life.
The first 18 months were tough, I wanted to share this new transformational approach which I “knew” could empower
individuals however despite the evidence I had to show the sustainable outcomes from this approach which included the
Modello’ housing project in Florida and Beyond Recovery CIC. (Jacqueline Hollows (Founder) who had been using this
approach in UK prisons with astonishing outcomes), I struggled to find an organisation who wanted to work with me so I
decided to start delivering programmes myself so that I could provide further evidence.
Jacqueline introduced me to Lilliana Bellini, Susan Marmot and David Saunders who offered to facilitate with me. Our first
program took place at the Holywell, Watford in September 2018. This was also our ‘test’ research carried out by Jeanne
Catherine at 3PRC and the results were encouraging! (I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you
to Quakers Homeless who kindly paid for the hall hire which allowed us to carry out two programmes.)
Around the same time, my path crossed with Bob Jones (CEO of W3RT), and our conversations began…For nearly a year Bob
held my hand and guided me to space where we could establish ourselves to be able to develop our services and formed a
partnership with W3RT in September 2019 however in March 2020, Covid-19 descended upon us and our programmes had to
move online which proved difficult to access for our participants.
I patiently waited to see what would unfold.
In June 2020, I was invited to a meeting which much to my surprise has now resulted in a Partnership with Coventry University Research Centre – which is the first programme in the UK to be measured in this capacity.
On the 13th of August, I received an email from Tim Anfilogoff (Head of Community Resilience and NHSE Social Prescribing
Facilitator, east of England) telling me that he was delighted to be able to confirm that the panel had selected our bid as one
which had been successful to allow us to facilitate our Programmes for those that are suffering from Homelessness and
Covid-19 with their mental health.
And so the journey continues … an incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of humanity through an infusion of love within the community.
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