The Story of GROWth

I stumbled off the platform like a drink and drug fuelled Dick Whittington!!

It was not the desired location, I was aiming for London (cliché) but ended up in Rochdale.

It’s a rude awakening when you realise that you’re on your own with a desire for self-destruction; I was homeless, desperate and penniless, living with undiagnosed Mental Health issues.  If I didn’t care for myself who on earth else would?

My first experience of getting help came from the Salvation Army who put me in touch with local AA meetings, professional services were few and far between and despite a willingness to attend regular AA meetings the intensive support I needed to deal with past trauma wasn’t available. I soon began to spiral back into addiction again!

I ended up travelling further south – next stop Manchester, here I found more organisations that were able to help me rebuild my life but due to most services running as entirely separate entities the co-production between services I needed wasn’t there.

I am now in recovery and due to my experiences and the experience of countless others who have walked this path it was obvious that what was needed then and is definitely needed now is joined up services.

Inspiring Change Manchester is Big Lottery funded, ICM is a pilot scheme which has funding for 8 years and is designed to help people with multiple needs in Homelessness, Offending, Mental Health issues and Substance Misuse enabling individuals to  transition back into fulfilling lives.  Due to ICM being ex-service user led, coproduction between professionals and professionals with lived experience helps remove barriers that individuals face.  The programmes aims are to join up services within Manchester, to allow an individual to get wraparound support in a person centred manner.  This kind of support which holistically looks at every aspect of potential barriers that an individual with complex needs could encounter.

I have had the opportunity to deliver on the CORE Group which assists with programme delivery and the direction of ICM and is comprised of individuals who have had lived experience, this enabled me to find a voice and a passion for this field of work.  As a result of my work on the CORE group I became a paid GROW trainee, which is paid employment assisting with the delivery of the ICM programme and my speciality area was moving clients onto meaningful activity and education, I was part of the Back on Track ICM team and my experience and the training opportunities I have had shaped a brand new career and future in this field I am so passionate in. I begin my next exciting opportunity shortly, away from ICM but within the same field.



  • commented on December 4, 2015 by Ben Whalley

    Having seen you speak at the Fulfilling Lives Conference it’s been really good to read your blog and learn more about your involvement in Inspiring Change Manchester. Thanks Karl, and best wishes for the future… stay in touch!

  • commented on January 3, 2018 by mr jon bowles

    very resourceful to get out of the predicament . well done – dont go back!

    honesty about a problem is the best starting point

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