Back from the brink

In 2016, Richard’s life was turned upside down by a violent crime. He lost his home and his income. His mental health suffered. Then he found support from the Stonham Home Group, a support service and long-standing partner of the WEA in Rotherham. Richard is looking forward again. 

After my ordeal, I found it hard to do new things or to meet new people. So when Stonham recommended I join a WEA drop-in group at a local library, I’ll be honest: I didn’t want to go. But I needed to get out, so I agreed. There was this lady there called Julie, who was the tutor. She was so kind and welcoming – always laughing and smiling. She reminded me a lot of the late, great Victoria Wood. 

As the course went on, I found myself opening up to Julie. My current course is called “On the Up!” and that’s how I feel. I am now more confident and I can talk about my problems more. I still have bad days and find things hard, but as soon as I see Julie and her big smiling face, things just seem to get better. 

I was then invited to the WEA York conference. That was a good day out. I learned a lot more about the WEA, and also found out they have volunteers and are always looking for more. One thing led to another, and I’m now a volunteer and member of the Rotherham Branch, which is amazing. 

I’m still alive because of the extraordinary people at Stonham. That’s a fact. And if it wasn’t for all Julie’s hard work, her laughter, her smiles – oh, and her amazing baking - I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today. 

I’m honoured to call you a true friend, Julie. Thank you.

I am now more confident and I can talk about my problems more.


View more stories