In 2016, Richard’s life was turned upside down by a violent crime. He lost his home and his income and 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 and now Richard is looking forward again.
After his ordeal, he found it hard to do new things or to meet new people and as a result Stonham recommended he join a WEA course targeted at improving health and wellbeing.
He joined a WEA drop-in group at a local library to get him at the house, back socialising and to give him a much-needed routine. When he arrived he met the tutor Julie who welcomed him into the group and over time he found himself opening up to her – becoming more confident and talking about his problems.
Julie brought him on board as a WEA volunteer and he is now a member of the Rotherham Branch, helping out other students in courses across Rotherham.
Richard commented: “I’m still alive because of the extraordinary people I’ve met. 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 still have bad days and find things hard, but as soon as I see Julie and her smiling face, things just seem to get better.”