Meet george

“I was born in Bradford. My father was from Afghanistan, he came over in the 50’s. I’ve always been a Bradford lad. I’m proud of my city.

I had been on speed since I was twelve years old. I used to go dancing. As I got older I didn’t realise what I was doing. I lost the plot. I’d been sanctioned a few times. And I didn’t have money to eat. I hadn’t eaten for a few days. I was so hungry I started eating food in the supermarket. I wasn’t hiding the fact and I got caught. The manager took me into the back room. He told me that since I’d only taken food he wasn’t going to press charges. He gave me ten pounds. I was taken back by the kindness he’d shown me. I decided to give up speed at that point.

I ran out of food not much later. And I asked a friend where I could go. He recommended this place – Shine. I was able to get a food parcel and started coming more often. I was still dealing with severe anxiety. But I felt comfortable being here. Just spending time with others; I felt more confident. I started to look to the future. The people here suggested a course to get back into work. And they were able to get me a job. I also started helping out at a place which provides mental health support. I thought I could give something back. I even did a course in budgeting which was really useful. It was part of a life skills course.

If it wasn’t for Shine and being able to come here, I wouldn’t be here. They gave me my life back. I’m forever grateful for the help they’ve offered me.”

Shine West Bowling is a local charity based in the top 2% deprived area of West Bowling, Bradford. Helping to bring the community together, they reach socially excluded people by delivering holistic services and providing opportunities for people of all ages, faiths and ethnicities. Thanks to a Provident Social Impact Fund grant from the Foundation, they were able to deliver their Brighter Futures project that helped teach struggling local people skills in budgeting, menu setting, shopping and cooking.