Patrick’s story

My Saving Grace

Eighteen months ago I was lost, struggling to cope with everyday life and the massive void of reality. After years of struggle with substance abuse and mental health problems, I was depressed and thought my life was over; then I got a phone call that literally changed my life.

It was from a friend who encouraged me to get involved with the project Birmingham Changing Futures Together saying, “It could open doors for me” and he was right.

Since joining my outlook on life has never been brighter and I feel I now have a future. The project has given me so much. I have met so many interesting people from all walks of life. Helping people and contributing to system change has given me a real sense of pride and achievement.

It has given my life structure, and I can see light at the end of what was a very dark tunnel. Every week is different, full of so many varied and interesting opportunities you feel that you’re live hasn’t been squandered and your lived experience can help other people on their “journey.”

I have done so many things that I never thought I would do, from attending city council meetings to helping on video shoots. I feel my voice is being heard and my ideas are being appreciated. There are also opportunities to travel and I have had the privilege of representing Birmingham at national congresses in London, Manchester and Stoke. I have grown so much as a person with the help of the excellent staff who co-ordinate the project.

If I had to sum up my experience with the project- I would say that joining has changed my life in so many ways. It has given me a sense of purpose, of normality, and of pride. The project has definitely changed my life for the better and by volunteering you can change your life and help others to change theirs. All I can say is please get involved for your sake and for the sake of others that need your help.


Patrick’s story

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