The Robert Powell Award
Sometimes we meet people who despite facing significant trauma in their own lives and battling their own mental health difficulties for many years go out of their way to help others. We are privileged to be a part of this journey and would like to share with you Rob’s story.
Rob was referred to Alabaré Include in February 2012 when he was 36. He’d experienced significant trauma in his early teens and battled drug and then alcohol addictions for many years. He suffered a complete breakdown in October 2011. Rob was a published author and also enjoyed painting and music, but his passion was walking. His long term goal was to work with people in a supporting role.
He attended our Chippenham walk on a regular basis and could always be relied upon to spend time chatting with other people on the walks making them feel valued and less isolated. He attended art therapy and started volunteering with the Whale and Dolphin Society. Rob volunteered at Alabaré Include’s ‘Time to Change’ event last July, handing out leaflets and information to the general public and talking to them about his experiences of living with mental health illness.
Sadly, Rob died this year. His family very kindly named Alabaré Include as one of the charities to benefit from donations given in Rob’s memory, and we were overwhelmed to receive over £600 of donations. We wanted to make sure that the money was used in a way that would be the most fitting to keep Rob’s memory alive. As Rob was in the process of becoming an Alabaré Include volunteer befriender we used some of the money to buy equipment and training materials to enable others to become volunteers – and we have already completed training with our first group of potential new volunteers.
Rob was a very special person who worked extremely hard to overcome his mental health difficulties and achieve his potential. We felt that the most fitting tribute to Rob would be to recognise these qualities in others. We will now present the Robert Powell award each year to recognise the outstanding achievements of our service users.
This year the award goes to a person who, although struggling for many years with their own mental health, has now reached a point where she is using the tools and techniques she has learned, to support others that are struggling. Valerie Clark runs a regular coffee group for other service users and is in the process of completing our befriender training to enable her to support others on their recovery journey. In April she agreed to come with us to be interviewed by a panel for a tender submission and stole the show and made a lasting impression on all of us.
Due to the nature of living with a mental health illness Valerie was unable to accept her award at the AGM, but was instead awarded with it on the … Congratulations Valerie from everyone at Alabaré.