18 months of training with a group of 10 very motivated and hard working runners. All from disadvantaged backgrounds. One fantastic trainer, ex-professional international rugby player, Damian Gibson (DG Ozfit), who was actually one of this year’s local heroes. As a team, we were privileged enough to represent the “Home Run Project” team in the promotional video which was partly aired on the BBC.
If you have been watching Grayson Perry’s ‘Rites of Passage’ on Channel 4, you may have seen Allen featured in episode 4 ‘Coming of Age’. The programme didn’t have time to explore why people ended up at The Basement Recovery Project and focused on the celebration of recovery. Allen’s account of his relationship with alcohol is raw, unedited and told in his own words. Thank you, Allen, for allowing us to share your story with the wider community.
Grayson Perry explores coming of age which starts with his visit to the Amazon where he witnesses the Tikuna people celebrate the transition of two girls to adulthood. Thankfully, we don’t do that here and he’s not suggesting we do, but he does think we can take something from it. He’s even more convinced after talking to London teens and people in recovery at The Basement Project (who he describes as “kidults”) – older people who can’t take responsibility for themselves or their lives. He sees both groups as reaching the end of one stage of their life and beginning another and wants to mark that in a celebration, something we don’t do enough of in recovery circles.
In this episode, Grayson explores coming of age which starts with his visit to the Amazon where he witnesses the Tikuna people celebrate the transition of two girls to adulthood. Thankfully, we don’t do that here and he’s not suggesting we do, but he does think we can take something from it. He’s even more convinced after talking to London teens and people in recovery at The Basement Project (who he describes as “kidults”) – older people who can’t take responsibility for themselves or their lives. He sees both groups as reaching the end of one stage of their life and beginning another and wants to mark that in a celebration, something we don’t do enough of in recovery circles.
Fiona’s story briefly touches on the struggles and consequences of addiction and you’ll see why we need to celebrate when we ‘come out the other side’.
I’ve just got back from a great walk up Mount Snowdon, alongside 12 friends and the fantastic staff of Activate. At first, when I was asked to do the walk, the usual questions came to the fore – What will I need to wear, can I do it in jeans, etc. The trip was specifically to see the sun setting over Snowdonia…
In the summer I had the pleasure of attending an open day for the Basement Project. It was a day to support and raise funds for the amazing work that these guys are doing – opening new doors for people trying to overcome alcohol and substance abuse. I could not believe my luck when I was told I had won tickets to see the XFactor semi-finals live in London! Having watched it religiously on TV for years, it was just a phenomenal experience to be there and witness it all first hand. Thanks to our ‘VIP status’ for the night, we were escorted to the backstage bar where we brushed shoulders with some of the stars but meeting the man behind the voiceover was definitely the highlight. The show itself was simply fantastic, from the first class seats with a perfect view of Mr. Cowell to the impressive lighting and sound and watching the brilliant cameramen working their magic. After the show, we returned to the bar where we took more photos including some with the contestants. Perfect end to a perfect evening. Thanks so much again to the Basement Project for this fantastic opportunity and keep up the great work guys!!
Have a great Christmas and New Year and many thanks once again.
Although the title may suggest a romantic story, other than a good sense of unity support and a few laughs, for me, it was quite the opposite. It was an eye-opening stark reminder of what might have been if I had continued on the road I was travelling.
My son Luke and I arrived at the Shay Stadium at approx. 8:10pm. We were one of the first people to arrive, so we promptly found a bed for the night. We sat down on the shockingly cold concrete steps and were soon joined by our fellow campers; Kev, Fiona and their son Harrison (who is the same age as Luke, so they had some likeminded company other than myself – though I’m told I often act like a 12 year old). Paul and Gerald joined us soon after.
We settled in for the night, having great banter and some quite deep discussions … regarding addiction, would you believe?
The temperature was clearly dropping and after some sleeping bag malfunctions, we were witness to a speech from a SmartMove employee whose name escapes me, about just why we were all there and where the money goes and the difference we can make in people’s lives by simply attending events like this.
Quite a few people turned up although the numbers dwindled in the early hours. TBRP stood strong and finished the job. A lot of people couldn’t sleep and stayed up all night listening to music played by a talented gentleman and his guitar. Our very own Fiona couldn’t sleep because of the sounds of our snoring echoing around the stadium.
We left at 6:30am after breakfast was offered. On arriving home, I went straight to bed and tried getting some heat into my frozen aching body. Our night was just a small insight into the harsh reality of homelessness. We were dripped on, frozen, had aching bodies and had intermittent sleep in the space of 9 hours. We were glad to get home!
I cannot imagine having to do this every day, all day, not knowing where I will sleep or what I would eat, invisible to passers-by, being isolated, yet surrounded by others going about their daily routines.
I really hope our small donation of our time and your sponsorship makes a difference in someone’s life. Thanks to Luke, Fiona, Kev, Harrison, Jed and Paul for a great night and an experience I won’t forget. You can continue to donate to SmartMove via their Localgiving page.
Same time next year?
The Basement Recovery Project is and has been an invaluable source of friendship and support not just for my partner as he found his feet in recovery but for the whole family throughout and beyond.
On Friday 15th September 2017, 14 members of the local recovery community will be coming together to cycle 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington over the course of four days. Those taking part have been training for a number of months; prior to which they had little or no experience of cycling any significant distance…
Before coming into recovery my Friday night’s and Saturday mornings would have been spent either watching some rubbish on TV or just wishing the hours away with a book or DVD. Each day was basically a case of existence and reduction of my medication with loads of self-pity thrown in.
Yet in recovery I was asked if I wanted to go ‘Wild Camping’ for 24 hours which involved walking up Pendle Hill and sleeping in the wilds with just a bivvy bag, sleeping bag to lie in and a waterproof camouflage sheet (tied at each corner with rope on to a tree/branch on an incline) to keep the wind and rain off.
At first, I thought they were mad – but I agreed to go and it turned out to be a fantastic experience – although trudging up that hill in a downpour was hard going. I found it really tough on my legs since they have spent more time static than in motion. Yet I can honestly say that the ribbing of each other kept us either laughing. We had a smile on our faces from start to finish.
The views from the top of Pendle Hill, once the rain had stopped, were eye catching – valleys and beautiful countryside for as far as my eyes could see; unspoilt by council estates and housing.
On the Saturday morning, we all had a brew and packed everything away so there no signs of our stay left. Our litter was burned or thrown back into our rucksacks. This time, on the return journey, we hiked around the base of the hill and again the jokes, ribbing and laughter flowed.
I’d like to pick out one of the really funny bits. I could say it was when one of one of the girl’s feet sank into the wet, muddy ground and out came her foot minus her boot. Or when the boss was in her basher (our improvised tent) and she put a net bag over her head (I think maybe it was to keep slugs off – but to be honest she looked hilarious). It’s hard to pick one highlight because it was the whole experience and the slightly mad humour of those that I shared the trip with that was just fantastic.
It was hard going for me but I kept going and completed it, thanks to all who came, for their mental humour, fantastic outlook and the camaraderie.
So, anyone reading this who has been considering any form of recovery activity – I say do it!
You will love the experience and laughter plus all the care and consideration of your fellows and staff in recovery. I was all for dodging activities – but no more! Let the games begin as I will be there and so should you be.
Also, some massive thanks have to go out to Graham, Wayne and John from Activate who led us on this hike and shared their experiences of how to camp out in the wild and leave no footprint! Thank you, to everyone involved!
“I’ll always be proud of him”, says young woman who skydived in father’s memory.
Abi Mae Haley’s father sadly passed away in 2014, shortly before her 15th birthday. He had struggled with alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, though he had started to turn his life around, the illness had already taken its toll. Abi recently completed a sponsored skydive to raise funds and awareness of addiction and where to get help.
“Kirklees in Recovery worked with my dad to plan the best road to recovery. I honestly saw a change in him in such a short period of time, a change so good that he started to plan for his future again. Maybe, just maybe, if he had found this place of support sooner, things would be different.
Before Dad passed away I was sent a video of him training to do a sky dive. I looked at this frequently and I could see that he was, at last, doing something that made him happy. That’s where I got the idea to raise awareness of the place that helped him, and to finish something that he started.
I take my hat off to the people working at Kirklees in Recovery as I know first-hand some of the difficulties they must face every day, but I also know how amazing it is to see the small improvements in the people they work with”.
On Father’s Day, Sunday 18th June, Abi Mae completed the skydive her dad had been training for. She set up a crowdfunding page and reached her £500 target.
“I was terrified at the thought of doing a skydive, but like many of those who suffer from addiction, I faced my fears and the result was amazing. The money I donate to Kirklees in Recovery will go towards making a difference to the lives of those who they help; from providing the smallest of things like a cup of tea and a friendly chat to helping to support their recovery programmes which can be the difference between recovery and relapse. Helping Kirklees in Recovery can also help to provide extra services in more rural communities, reaching out to those who are most isolated in our local areas.
I never thought I would lose my dad as soon as I did, but I will always be so proud of the man he was and I hope that I am making him proud now by inheriting his strong and positive outlook in life, and by making the most of what I have now. I chose to donate to Kirklees in Recovery because even the smallest amount of money could make a difference to someone’s life, as well as their families and friends”.
September is National Recovery Month and Kirklees in Recovery started celebrating by walking from their Dewsbury recovery hub to the Huddersfield hub on 1st September where Abi presented a cheque for £717.
Event organiser, Sheena West, said,
“Recovery Month is to raise awareness of addiction, to help reduce the stigma surrounding it and to let people know there is help. Everyone knows someone who knows someone affected by addiction, yet we all try to ignore it because we don’t know how to help. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious illness and many people have no idea that you can recover and lead a better life, free from the need or desire to use any mood-altering substance.
We have been amazed at Abi Mae’s fundraising. She has shown a strong and positive attitude at such a difficult time in her life and she is an inspiration to all of us. She has truly done a wonderful thing and I know her dad would be very proud indeed. Her generosity will directly help those with addiction issues. She is always welcome at our project and we wish her every success in her future”.
With thanks and much love from us all at KiR x
Abi’s story was also covered in The Huddersfield Daily Examiner