It was a bit of a hit and a miss day in downtown Glasgow…a bit sunny, bit rainy…cloudy…
I decided to go to Costa coffee (other beverage boutiques are available) and successfully blagged a latte in exchange for a non- business card.
With this success in mind, I contacted the BBC and STV in the hope they’d be interested in the ramble.
I was met with grey, disinterested ambivalence…no prompts, no probing questions….no questions….
Not to worry though, I’d arranged to meet Simon Bradstreet, director of the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) in a local Mexican restaurant where he was to treat me to their fine, albeit somewhat dribbly (that was probably me) fayre.
I won’t do SRN the injustice of trying to describe what they do with a pithy one liner – you can gather that information here…
I will say though, they are a voluntary agency who promote the recovery of people with mental health problems through individual work – at the same time liaising with health, social work and other voluntary agencies.
In chatting with Simon I was struck that, as an organisation, they practice what they preach.
They see lived experience of a mental health problem as a major benefit to any individual working in this area.
I found myself asking about absenteeism – was that a problem when employing folk with a mental malady?
Certainly not, came the reply, in fact SRN’s sickness stats compare favourably to those of the NHS and local authorities.
Simon has been following my romp around the country – and, as the head of such an organisation, was certainly putting his money where his mouth is…er was…er, still is, by offering me hospitality.
That came by way of the Mexican meal, being given office space and a computer to play with, staying over at his home, meeting his lovely family…having tea with them….
I particularly enjoyed my time with his son Joe, who was keen to show me his collection of stones, fossils and shark teeth. He let me read his Horrible History book about the British Empire…how the great conquerors described the indigenous populations (soon to be slaves) as lazy and stupid who needed tough love to produce their best work…
I might be paraphrasing for my own political ends there…
It was all over too quickly. Before I knew it I was leaving – I was touched when Joe gave me the 50p that his mum, Emma had pressed into his hand, for my journey and, as I walked away, seeing Keira, their daughter, waving with great enthusiasm at the window.
Money – mouth
Practice – preach
Walk a mile