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"I can feel all my old confidence coming back."

A Wigan man has praised Groundwork for helping him to overcome depression and get back to his old self.

After losing his job, Stephen says that he gradually became less active, depressed and socially isolated. He joined Groundwork's Roots To Wellbeing programme because he wanted to gain confidence and have more social interaction. He’d already tried a number of other courses but says that he didn’t really enjoy them, or find them particularly helpful.

Roots to Wellbeing is a 10 week personal development programme run by Groundwork in partnership with Wigan Council and Sport England. The programme encourages people who aren’t physically active to increase their activity as a way of gaining confidence, increasing their motivation and building resilience. As well as improving your health and wellbeing, it also helps you to update and develop your skills, so you are better prepared to enter the workplace. Support is provided on both a one-to-one basis and as a group, giving you the chance to meet new people and feel part of a team.

Before the programme started, Stephen felt apprehensive about meeting new people and doing some gentle exercise. However, he soon made new friends and started enjoying the activities. Leisurely walks around local parks slowly introduced the team to exercise and helped them to get to know each other. It wasn’t long before the team began visiting an outdoor gym, enjoying tenpin bowling and organising their own games of tennis and football. Stephen got on a bike for the first time in 15 years and he loved it.

Roots To Wellbeing got me out of the house, out of my comfort zone and slightly out of breath. I've loved it.

As well as taking more exercise, teams gain new skills and qualifications. They attend First Aid and Health and Safety courses, with learning sessions about healthy eating and drugs and alcohol. You also take part in mock job interviews, carried out by local employers. A local construction company were so impressed with one team member recently that they’ve since offered her a job in their local office.

Stephen says; "Before Roots To Wellbeing, I’d shut myself away for months. The programme has been brilliant. I’ve learned new things and met new people, which has helped me to cope with my depression and overcome my shyness. My fitness has really improved and I’ve even managed to lose some weight. I cannot rate the tutors more highly."

Stephen enjoyed being involved with Groundwork so much that he is now volunteering and helping out with the next Roots To Wellbeing programme, which starts in January 2018.