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Chris Downes

Chris has been involved with Stepping Stones prior to it’s inception.

I have been extremely privileged to have been involved with Stepping Stones prior to it’s inception.

I participated in pilot courses to evaluate whether we all thought Stepping Stones could work here in Bracknell and i was able to offer many of my own ideas and contacts locally from my own lived in experiences of having a classified severe mental health condition.

In the past, I worked in several corporate roles in administrative and finance roles which became apparent after a number of years of struggle, was not a role I could personally successfully function, whilst doing.

For the last 20 years I have had many roles within a wide variety of mental health and learning disability support charities as a supporter, volunteer, staff member and user of organisations myself.

So it was very exciting being involved with Stepping Stones from the outset.

It is and always will be an evolving service and we are always learning better ways and more helpful ways of adapting courses, especially from feedback from students and staff alike.

My personal day to day involvement has been ever changing.

I have been a supporter / co facilitator for the gardening group.

For many years, I maintained my parents garden and have always benefitted from working outside. It really does help massively with my own personal mental health.

The gardening group is based at Jealotts Hill Community Landshare, which is a brilliant space for many charities and volunteers alike to work on plots growing all sorts of fruit, vegetables and shrubbery. But also its a place where we can chill, have a nice cup of char and enjoy the open air and relative tranquility of a lovely peaceful space.

I have also supported on The Money and Wellbeing courses which we are adapting also for more outside agencies, which again is fantastic for Stepping Stones.

And I am now currently helping in the office also with a variety of tasks that crop up on any given day.

Stepping Stones can help in a whole variety of ways. You can feel less alone with your struggles and there are all sorts of people who have been through their own troubles. Knowing I was not the only one was my own first step to recovery.

Outside of Stepping Stones, I enjoy most sports, mainly just spectating these days, and sadly I am that person that follows Queens Park Rangers football club. Often i'm to be seen also at Bracknell Rugby club, thankful that I am indeed just a spectator as opposed to a player !!!!

Stepping Stones has helped myself personally in so many ways and given me a purpose once more after several years of feeling lost. There is absolutely nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by attending and everyone is so kind, supporting and accommodating.

I would encourage anyone to give Stepping Stones a good go.

You could be pleasantly surprised how much it could indeed help you. It’s certainly been very worthwhile for myself and hope it can be for everyone else involved too.

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