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Richard was first referred to YMCA Space in Welwyn Garden City having lost his 4-year-old son in a road traffic accident. Richard was in a desperate place having lost his son, job, home and relationship with the mother. Life was almost unbearable and he turned to substance abuse to try to find relief.

YMCA staff and local volunteers with expertise in bereavement support were able to build up a relationship with Richard and signpost him to a Bereavement Care partner who would meet with him in the centre. We journeyed with him through funeral and internment plans, working with a local church and cemetery.

We provided a room in the YMCA Hostel, as well as specialised substance
addiction support to help him. Richard felt he belonged with us, continued to come to the centre and was gradually encouraged to start volunteering.

Richard became a much-valued member of the team; he was trained in Listening Skills and First Aid, both of which were a personal challenge to him. He was thrilled when he was able to listen to service users who needed to off-load their problems.

Richard has since moved on from the centre, has found a new home and set up his own business as a Drainage Consultant. The YMCA Space process of engagement and empowerment came ‘full-circle’ when as the expert, Richard helped one of our buildings deal with a recent flooding issue!

“Space has literally saved my life – it was the one place I felt safe, and where people never gave up on me” Richard