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Community Foundation for Calderdale – Volunteer of the Year Winner

Our Community Coordinator Kev Sheils is recognised by the region as he’s presented with CFFC’s 2021 ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award

On the evening of 25th November, team members from The Basement Recovery Project attended the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s annual Community Spirit awards ceremony at The Venue in Barkisland. The event celebrates the continual hard work of Calderdale’s voluntary sector and recognises both individual and team achievements from charities and not-for-profits across the area.

Last night spotlighted some of the incredible work that’s been carried out over the last 12 months to support local people and provide vital services in what’s been a particularly challenging period. Rather than limiting the community’s resources, the COVID-19 pandemic in fact ignited Calderdale’s organisations to tap into the true values of Yorkshire Grit and go above and beyond to respond. The awards last night were a true testament to this.

Among those celebrated at the ceremony was none other than our very own Kev Sheils, The Basement Recovery Project’s Community Coordinator who received the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award. Kev works tirelessly to ensure that there’s an all-inclusive community offering that’s accessible to all residents who want to connect with like-minded people and build their support network. Recognising the importance of physical health on our overall wellbeing, Kev introduced the Couch to 5k Programme which has seen many community members graduate by completing their timed 5k Park Runs. When lockdown hit, Kev quickly responded and developed a remote ‘R.I.O.T’ (Running Is Our Therapy) group so that people could still exercise, connect and share their results online with the group. Kev also qualified as a Personal Trainer during the pandemic and now runs twice-weekly gym sessions at our Halifax hub, helping people set and achieve their personal fitness goals. Kev’s work raises a huge amount of awareness in the wider community and has had a significant impact on reducing the stigma that so often comes with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

More recently, Kev has been liaising with the Prison and Probation Services across Calderdale and Kirklees; connecting with offenders and offering them hope that freedom from addiction is possible no matter what adversities we face in life.

Kev said of his award,

“It’s weird because what I do is what I love doing and I’m rewarded every day as it gives me chance to be a valuable member of society. But it was really humbling to be nominated and I’m grateful I can show people that it’s possible to turn your life around when you accept some help. The power in the room at the event was something else. Hundreds of us coming together who all just genuinely want to give back. It was really special.”

Speaking of his achievement, The Basement’s CEO Michelle Foster said,

“We’re just so proud of Kev for everything he’s achieved and continues to achieve. Kev and his family are an asset to our recovery community and offer inspiration to so many people around them.”

From all of us at The Basement Recovery Project and the Calderdale in Recovery community, a massive thanks to our true community champion for all that you do. Well done Kev!!
A huge well done too to all the nominees and winners of last night’s awards. Events like these make us proud to be part of such a strong, supportive community and we look forward to next year.

 

 

Read Kev’s original story here.

Running for your life – a couch to 5k review

You will have seen The Basement Recovery Project message, “Freedom from Drink, Freedom From Drugs, Freedom from Addiction… Freedom from FEAR”  Our whole recovery programme is about this – Freedom.  Joshua J Marine said, “Challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful“.  For many, giving up substances is filled with fear, even for those who are not physically, mentally and emotionally addicted, there is often a fear of giving something up.  Quitting after many years of substance use is a huge accomplishment, but it’s not the end goal.  The end goal is to turn your life around, find purposeful meaning.   We offer many routes for people to find purpose again.  Bernadette is a great example and we are proud of her achievements.  Here are a few words from her about the Couch to 5K programme with Kev.

The first time I went to the track to participate in the 0 to 5k programme I felt apprehensive. I had previously tried several times to complete the programme on the treadmill at the gym. And I had only got to week 3/4 before quitting. The track looked huge and intimidating. I nearly turned back to go home and I questioned my sanity, I wasn’t a runner. Runners don’t look like me, nearly 50 and overweight. But everyone was very welcoming, and I decided to stay.

After the warm-up. Kev and I started to run around the track. I struggled to even do one lap. I couldn’t ever imagine running around it without stopping, and I certainly thought that running around it 12 times to complete 5k was impossible. With encouragement from Kev, after 8 weeks of the programme I eventually completed 12 laps of the track, and it was a fantastic feeling. I later completed a Huddersfield park run and that was a perfect day. I had had my park run barcode for about 4 years but didn’t have the motivation to go. I was so happy to run 5k. I felt like a hero.

Best of all, my daughter said she was proud of me, which felt amazing because she hasn’t ever had an opportunity to feel proud of me before. Running has given me self respect, confidence, well-being and laughter. The highs I get from running beat any received from using a substance.

The friends I’ve made through running are genuine and supportive. My life has changed because of this programme. It has influenced many areas of my life. My nutrition has improved, I now eat more fruit and vegetables and drink more water because I want my body to be well enough to continue running for many years to come.

Kev is an amazing coach. He really looks after us all. His passion for running is infectious and his knowledge of all things running is vast. I couldn’t have achieved any of this without his mentoring.

I am very grateful.
Bernadette

Read more about Kev and the Couch to 5K in his own story: Running for Recovery.

Running for Recovery – Couch to 5k

Running for Recovery – Kev’s Story – Couch to 5k

The Couch to 5k was set up for people in recovery to help them get well physically.

I know how much running and exercise has helped me with this but also towards my own mental wellbeing and I just wanted to pass this on in the hope that people can feel the way I do after just a 15-20 minute run, or even just a get together doing something a bit different with people that understand me.

For me running was never on the cards. I never thought that it could be so beneficial to my everyday life and that of my family.

As an addict, my family were dragged through addiction with me, but I now get the chance to try again, this time, by them being involved in my recovery. The benefits of this shine through as we are a very happy and healthy family.

Just 30 minutes of exercise a week can add years to your life and who wouldn’t want that now you’re substance-free or in the process of being so.

We now are trying to get the community to join us in the hope we can rebuild bridges and reduce stigma by showing we are people too and no different to non-addicts.

If anyone would like to join us the dates and times are on the posters for Halifax and Huddersfield. They are posted on our Facebook Pages Calderdale in Recovery and Kirklees in Recovery and you can contact me via the Basement Recovery Project.

All welcome whether you’re in recovery or not.

Kev.

From no hope, isolation and loneliness to The Great North Run!

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.

Slow the Flow – It’s not about drugs – but then again, it is.

Hi, I’m a volunteer/client with The Basement Recovery Project and have been for two months now.  When I first moved into Halifax and started getting help from TBRP, I was broken.  I was broken physically, emotionally and financially and I’d been a huge problem to my community for many years, sucking the life out of the system and services.

Going through the TBRP programme, something had “clicked”.  Something has changed this time. I no longer wanted to be a leech to society and wanted to give back.  I was quickly introduced to Kev, one of the Basement Recovery Builders and I have to say, what an inspiration he is.  We are now really good friends. Kev talked about volunteering with an organisation called Slow the Flow, which helps slow the waters of mother nature.  Last year, if you remember, many areas around Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden etc suffered life-changing floods due to heavy rain. Their plan was to build fashionable but purposeful means to slow the flow of rainwater into the local drainage systems and came up with such a great idea (rain garden planters) that I wanted to help.

Me, Kev and two other friends went down and got stuck in. Following a few firsts, like working hard and working for free, I had the opportunity to meet the Mayor of Hebden Royd Town Council, Councillor Carol Stow who officially ‘opened’ the planters with a bit of a party and ceremony. It was the first time in my life that I had met a public figure not only for the right reasons, but to be recognised for all the hard work we did, as a team, together.

I explained what the idea was and how we quickly got down to business. I told Councillor Stow about the sense of pride and happiness felt by a man that, months earlier, couldn’t stop stealing and taking drugs to now being clean and doing stuff for nothing. Getting involved in a project like this not only helps to stop the rainwater, but it helps to stop the madness surrounding active addiction, it’s beyond priceless and I look forward to getting involved in more volunteering work.

Sincerely,

Joe D.

It is easy to feel complacent in this beautiful summer of hot, dry weather – but heavy rainfall now could easily result in surface water flooding, as hard, dry ground sheds water more easily to the drains. For inspiration on the many ways to help Slow The Flow in urban areas, please visit our ‘You Can Slow The Flow’ pages: http://slowtheflow.net/you-can-slow-the-flow/

The Home Run Project – With TBRP

My level of fitness has increased massively and with this, there are the usual benefits; sleeping better, feeling happier, a massive change in my attitude and my overall outlook on life is much brighter. Find out how you can benefit from the Home Run Project, it could be the start to a whole new way of life …

Volunteering with Slow The Flow Calderdale

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…