This week we celebrate the transformation in the life of Phil. Phil has been awarded the Hope into Action Andy Lanning award for his determination to overcome tragedy and use his experiences to support others.

Phil lost his family, his home and livelihood overnight. He was given a 2 year suspended sentence / restraining order for a serious ABH crime. This was Phil’s first conviction and when he moved into his Hope into Action home, he was still suffering from shock at the tornado of events in his personal life. The peaceful environment of his Hope into Action home provided a safe haven for Phil and an opportunity to turn his life around. 

This was his opportunity to reflect on the consequences of his crime and to look back over his 20 year career as a security doorman in London and the South East and consider past life decisions.  Phil determined to turn his life back onto a positive path and make a fresh start.  

First he made a positive impact inside his new house sourcing household items from local charity shops to create a more homely environment. Then Phil worked incredibly hard to transform the garden into a beautiful, peaceful space creating new herb and flower-beds, repainting the garden shed and planting 300 spring bulbs. 

Throughout the past year, Phil has suffered tremendous grief. He has not only lost a number of close friends, but has also had to deal with the grief of losing all contact with his two young children. Phil has dealt with his grief by reaching out and helping others in a multitude of ways:  

  • Becoming an NHS volunteer driving nurses and carers to local appointments in the first lockdown. 
  • Volunteering in a local recovery hub café supporting people coming out of addiction; during lockdowns attending daily zoom support meetings; initiating an online Christmas craft project. 
  • Being an active member of a probationary support WhatsApp group including organising outdoor picnics in summer for the group. 
  • Volunteering on an interview panel to hire a new Empowerment Worker for the local Hope into Action team. 
  • Becoming involved in a Council / Homeless Agency led project to improve services for the homeless in the local area. 
  • Creating handcrafted rope keyrings to sell as a fundraising project for Hope into Action, MIND and Prostate Cancer charities. 
  • Shopping for his elderly church befrienders in lockdown. 

Phil’s volunteering has inspired him to contemplate a new career as a peer support worker. He has successfully completed 2 online training courses in mental health awareness and substance / alcohol abuse with plans to complete more.     

He says his journey with Hope into Action has been like moving from darkness into the light and has been a journey of healing and restoration.   

Phil was nominated for the Andy Lanning award because he demonstrated all the qualities our trustee Andy, a prison chaplain, stood for.   

He has shown incredible resilience when embarking on re-educating himself having left school at 16 with few qualifications; he has learnt to forgive himself for the past; he has found strength through the kindness and care he has shown to others in his volunteering; and he has a hopeful future career in which he can use his own experiences to support others.   

"Phil" is not his real name.

If you want to get involved in transformations like this, please get in touch or you can donate here.