Not that long ago, Robert, who is now 26, was a fit and healthy young man with a promising career ahead of him in the Royal Marines. This all changed suddenly when he seriously injured his back in an accident. He was forced to leave the Marines and this led to a downward spiral. Robert became depressed and ended up homeless.
He was a patient in the local mental health unit when staff from Derventio's Healthy Futures project met him. They agreed with Robert that he needed structure in his day, and the Growing Lives project seemed just the thing. Growing Lives provides skill-building activities including gardening, cookery and furniture upcycling with support to reduce isolation and improve confidence, health and wellbeing.
Robert came to Growing Lives with a clear set of goals. He wanted to curb his frustration with others and improve his communication skills. He eventually wanted to gain a volunteering role which would prepare him for a career as an Outward Bound Instructor. This is a job helping young people develop life skills through outdoor learning and adventure - a perfect fit for Robert's skills and experience.
Robert has been a regular face at Growing Lives. He helped in the garden and learnt to upcycle furniture. But most importantly it gave him back a sense of routine and normality and helped him rebuild his confidence and mental health.
Robert recently came one step closer to his goals when he was accepted by a local charity as an activities volunteer working with young people.
We have changed Robert's name to protect his anonymity.