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Greg's Story


Greg didn’t come to Whirlow through the traditional route, but his story was sadly familiar, and a large part of what we do is aimed at helping youngsters avoid the difficulties that he experienced. We're delighted to have been able to support Greg

Greg grew up a happy and bright child. He was the life and soul of any gathering and had lots of friends. He was a talented sports player, a member of cricket and football teams and played ice hockey for South Yorkshire; travelling to Sweeden and Canada with his team.

Unfortunately, between the age of 14 and before the end of his third year at university, he struggled with mental health issues and became so unwell that he was unable to finish his degree.

After a period in hospital and recovery at home, Greg, having always loved food and cooking, signed up to City College’s catering course and, after gaining a qualification, secured a management role in the catering department of Shefield’s Hallamshire Hospital. Unfortunately, the pressure of the role lead to Greg becoming unwell again and he lost his job.

At this point, Greg felt like a failure and didn’t want to get out of bed. He spent all his time indoors, lost all his confidence and communication skills, and was extremely deflated. His family were at their wits end and his mum, Georgina, constantly worried he was at risk of harming himself.

Georgina decided she needed to take action. As Greg had always had a love of animals, she contacted Whirlow about Greg volunteering on the farm. Georgina and Greg met with Whirlow’s Chief Executive, Ben Davies, who arranged for Greg to work with the Farm Team. Ben said “Our Whirlow LIFE programmes are designed for youngsters who are struggling with various challenges; mental health is often a major contributing factor at that age. Although Greg didn’t come to Whirlow through the more traditional route, his story was sadly familiar to us, and a large part of what we do is aimed at helping youngsters avoid the difficulties that he experienced. So, it made sense to see what we could do to help Greg find his feet."

Volunteering at Whirlow gave Greg a chance to start mixing with people again on a level that he felt comfortable with. The team heard about his love of cooking and food, and when a role came up in the café, they instantly thought of Greg, and he was delighted to accept.

Greg is now 36. He has regained his confidence and lives independently. As well as working at Whirlow, he is back at college studying for an HND in Animal Husbandry and plans to continue to university again after. He wants to work with animals and loves to be hands on with them. He particularly loves sheep and knows all the breeds! He has got back into sports and cycles or runs everywhere, including taking part in the local park run.

Ben said “We’re delighted things have worked out so well with Greg; he’s an important member of the team now. Our only regret is that we didn’t make the connection when he was younger; had his family heard about Whirlow’s alternative provision they’d have known that lots of other families were in similar situations to them, and that help and support existed.”

Georgina said “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Whirlow has been a lifeline for Greg. At Whirlow he feels accepted for who he is and part of something. It has given him hope and a future.”

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