Leroy's story

“Coming here, mixing with people, gives me something to look forward to every week.”

Themes: Social prescribing; mental health; community; creative expression; men’s group

Image credit: Sheenagh McKinlay, Stained glass and mosaic maker

After struggling with his mental health since COVID-19 Leroy started retreating further and further into himself. He spent most of his time indoors and was struggling to come out of his flat. To make matters worse he found that much of the support he was receiving for his mental health was based online or via phone calls, “I’ve always just wanted to speak to people in person, so I found it pretty hard.” Since being referred to our Mental Health Community Connector this has all started to change for Leroy.

He has joined our Men’s Cave every Friday and has already done a wide range of activities with the group, including pottery painting, a trip to Stepney City Farm, and gardening. He now has pots of thyme and coriander that he is hoping to grow in his own kitchen! “What makes it nice is just being in the group, it’s good to get out of being on my own,” Leroy reflected, “coming here, mixing with people, gives me something to look forward to every week – I’m really enjoying it. I’m feeling positive at the moment and I’m just more upbeat after I’ve come here. In the group, everyone has their own stories to share and it just puts everything into perspective. Every issue that someone has, they forget it when they come here because you’re part of a group and you’re all doing things together. No one takes anything too seriously, everyone is always cracking jokes and that alone is uplifting.” The group also acts as a space of peer support, where members share information and tips they have learnt along their own journeys. For Leroy this was a suggestion to speak to a doctor about how to stop smoking, “so it’s quite educational you could say, everyone is really happy to help out.”

As well as introducing Leroy to the men’s group he has been supported by his Community Connector to get in touch with Workers Well Trust for employment advice and a member of our Integrated Advice Team who is working with Leroy to manage his bills.

“I would tell anyone to come to the Centre, there’s so many different things to do. It’s a good environment where no one looks down on anyone. Knowing that there are centre’s like this doing stuff in the community is just great.”

Leroy is now looking forward to the next activities he can get involved with as part of the Men’s Cave. From fitness and cooking classes to a talk by the DLR about the different types of travel ticket available.

Our Men’s Cave peer-led group meets every Friday from 2.30pm – 4.30pm and is always welcoming new comers.