We are a locally rooted charity, working with the people of West Bowling and our activities reflect the needs they tell us about. We are here to offer help and hope to anyone who walks through our doors. Here are some of our stories.
Shine Story: Terry
Terry moved to West Bowling aged 11 and fell in with the wrong crowd. He was taken into care after playing truant and was sexually, physically and mentally abused in the care homes he found himself in. He was then sent to borstal and later to prison. He was with his wife for 43 years and spent 20 of those using heroin and crack cocaine, as well as cannabis. He was in recovery from heroin and crack cocaine when his wife left him 3 years ago and he turned to alcohol.
He didn’t know what to do and someone suggested he visited SHINE at St Stephens. “I just seemed to fit in. Everybody else had problems, so I knew I could get out of mine, and ever since, I’ve been here.”
Terry speaks with genuine gratitude for the work of SHINE. “SHINE is the only thing I’ve got. I’ve got my son, obviously he is my son, and he will put up with owt! But I come to SHINE every day.”
Terry has managed to stop drinking all together in the past, but found himself lonely and he sought out the company of other drinkers, he says, “drink will make your mind up for you, you won’t make your mind up for drink.” But since he has come to SHINE he says he looks at things a different way, “I can appreciate what SHINE do for me. Other people may come and say ‘Oh yeah, it’s a bacon sandwich, it’s a cup of coffee’, I don’t think of it like that. If I hadn’t have met SHINE I would have gone further and further downhill. I’ve got things moving forward now, but obviously things take time.”
Terry struggles to keep up with appointments and forms, “I suffer badly with paranoia, I don’t like establishments because of what happened to me in my past.” He says that SHINE workers have been a lifeline to him, helping him to get to his appointments and fill in paperwork. “SHINE has given me hope, so that’s why I want to give something back to SHINE. SHINE don’t look at how you live and what you’ve got and what you haven’t got, to them it’s just “help you, help you” as much as they can. 15 months ago I couldn’t have talked to you, I wouldn’t have looked at you. I go to interviews now and people say, “Wow, you’ve changed”.
And great news! Terry has finally got his own property to move into and is delighted!
Shine Story: Stuart
Stuart was the first person who came to SHINE. Stuart has learning difficulties and was bullied at school. As an adult he struggled at work, “I was told I wasn’t good enough, or fast enough" he says, "I was panicking. Then someone else took me on, and they weren’t nice people, I didn’t like it”. He was eventually told by the job centre that he wouldn’t be able to find work.
He came to the job search at SHINE and was helped by one of the SHINE workers. He was helped with interview techniques and work confidence and advised how to improve his work techniques. He went on to find work at Bradford City Association Football Club, as well as work cleaning and as a School Crossing Patroller. Stuart now also plays football for Bradford City Disability Football Club, which has taken him as far as Germany and Holland for matches.
Coming to SHINE has given Stuart more confidence. “I was nervous, shy I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I would just sit at home. Now I’m more confident, talking to people, enjoying it, I’ve met some new people. Before I would just stay in my bedroom at home, I had long hair, I couldn’t be bothered. Now I’m clean and more tidier.”
Stuart still comes to SHINE every day: “I like helping the community. People in here need help...I help with the food bank or the clothes bank or just making them a cup of tea.”