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Mark came to Tower House, one of our supported housing schemes, to build up his independent living skills. Inspired by his recovery worker Stephen, he’s discovered a passion for food, has completed professional catering qualifications and is now inspiring others by running a cooking group for residents at the scheme.

Mark: “I came here because I wanted to become a more mature and independent person. My health has come a long way over the years. I’m a better communicator through cooking. My self esteem has grown, I’m more confident in what I’m doing and I regularly hold cooking groups. To start with it was omelettes, chips and beans, but by the end of it I was helping the managers cook roast dinners and things like that. Cooking has really helped me make more friends in the house, people enjoy the food I make.

“I came here because I wanted to become a more mature and independent person. My health has come a long way over the years”

“From cooking meals here I went to West Cheshire College where I did a GNVQ in cooking and hospitality. I got a lot from that and I was able to believe in myself. It made me more happy and vibrant and made me a better person.”

Stephen: “Seeing the way I can help people is really inspiring. Sometimes there’s an idea that people are not able to recover but you have got to have a strong belief that people can recover from mental ill health and keep trying to help people.

“It’s about treating people with respect, not focusing on what’s wrong with someone but on what’s good about their life”

“I think the difference we can make is very subtle. You can do all the practical things like maximising someone’s benefits or accompanying them to appointments but I think the real work is in spending time, showing an interest and sharing experiences. I’m a great believer in us all being here together, that we’re all equal; I’m really keen to break down barriers so we can relate to each other. It’s about treating people with respect, not focusing on what’s wrong with someone but on what’s good about their life.”