Shakil's Story

I was referred to Hestia’s Recovery Café just after it opened in April 2017. I am 67 and I have had schizophrenia since I was 14.

My condition has left me feeling very isolated and some days I would go all day without speaking to anybody. I was referred to the Recovery Café by my local mental health service. It had newly opened and I remember my first visit. I was in a terrible way and I was welcomed by a member of staff who gave me a cup of tea, took my information and helped me put together a support plan. I was then shown through to the communal room and given space to be alone until I was ready to talk further.

I began to attend regularly and after a while I could feel my loneliness seeping away and my emotions begin to calm. The staff saw my progress and invited me to become a volunteer.

In July 2017 I joined the Recovery Café as a volunteer, helping staff to welcome new arrivals and supporting the workshops. The staff knew I was an avid reader, a poet and an author so they approached me about running my own creative writing workshop.

I have been running the Creative Writing workshops for almost a year now. For me it isn’t just about getting together but the material I provide encourages the members, giving them practices to use when they are in their own low emotional troughs. I see every session as adding layers to their personal armour, sharing skills to cope and build their own resilience.

Being initially a customer at the Recovery Café, and later volunteering, has changed my life.

Over this past year I have found purpose and regained stability to my life. In the future I hope to start a group for young people who also suffer from schizophrenia, using my lifetime of experience to give them hope.

Learn more about Hestia's Recovery Café and Mental Health & Complex Needs services.

Read our 2017/2018 Annual Review.