Monthly Archives: March 2017

Leigh’s story which was shared briefly on ‘Corby Radio’ this morning

In 2014 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Extreme Borderline Personality Disorder.   Life had been really difficult for me and I was at the end of my tether at the point when I found STAGES.

I had been through the system being shoved from pillar to post with everyone making me relive my story, which with PTSD is not helpful at all.  It just made me feel worse and eventually made me give up hope, feeling like a bad father and worthless.  I was suicidal on a daily basis.   I felt that my life was not worth living anymore.

I was in a desperate situation and I felt that no-one could help me, until I searched Google one last time to see if I could find anyone that could really help me and I came across STAGES.pp_resources_social_engFB_Cover

I began attending their weekly reiki, holistic therapy and tea/coffee and chat sessions, met for social lunch meetups and registered for the next Mindfulness course.  I immediately bonded with Sandra and Katie and once I began my Mindfulness course, I really made a wonderful connection with Lynda and Carol who were attending the course as well and eventually connected with everyone else at STAGES.

I had been a bit concerned about Mindfulness, as I had attended what was supposed to be a Mindfulness course with the mental health team.  That was very different to what I attended at STAGES.  At Corby Mental Health Team, I felt that it was very much a classroom/ teacher, child setup and I felt very unsettled there as things were just written on a board and we were pretty much left to get on with it.  At the end, I was told that I had FAILED the course.

I went on to learn from Katie that there is no such thing as failing a Mindfulness Course and that Mindfulness becomes a way of life and eventually, even after several courses a little something will sink in each time we attend.  I have completed 3 Mindfulness Courses and a few mindfulness workshop refreshers since I started with STAGES.

Now with hindsight, I realise that the reason the mental health team’s mindfulness course didn’t work for me was because we were only really taught a bit of theory about it.  I learned at STAGES that meditation is a huge aspect of mindfulness and acceptance of things as they are and letting go and trying to live in the moment and not keep going back and dragging up the past.

Before I joined STAGES,  I was pretty much a recluse, agoraphobic really.  I locked myself away in my house by myself, most of the time.  Now, when my kids come to stay with me, I can actually spend some quality time doing things with them and take them to the park without even thinking about it.   This in itself has been a massive achievement for me. Now, I try and get a bit more involved in helping to raise awareness of STAGES, because I know just how different life can be, with the knowledge that there are people out there who understand me, because they have also been through similar life experiences and who actually care about me.  I even managed to do an interview for ITV News (6pm, 21st March, Anglia West) and went onto give a bit of my story on Corby Radio today, which previously would not have happened.

I recently relapsed because my benefits were stopped just before christmas.  I had felt so awful I didn’t go anywhere again and then just before christmas,  I managed to get myself back to STAGES. They could see straight away, that I was in crisis and had gone downhill rapidly.  They helped me so much, especially Michelle and Katie, who made sure that I had food on the table for my children, when they were visiting and gas and electric in the meter.   As far as the government were concerned I could starve and freeze to death.  They did not want to know when I pleaded for help and they didn’t seem to care about the impact that it was having on my mental health.  I really don’t know what I would have done without my family STAGES.  They really made me feel that everything was going to be ok,  because they cared about me.

Please VOTE for STAGES ‘Healing Minds – People Helping People’ Project,  so that we can help others in the same situation that I was in.


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#peoplesprojects #STAGES #HealingMinds #PeopleHelpingPEople

Original quote by Katie Read and Image by Tones of Monochrome


#Peoplesprojects #STAGES #HealingMinds #PeopleHelpingPeople #Mindfulness #MentalHealth

Sandra’s Story and why she wants you to Please Vote for STAGES

Sandra  pp_resources_flyer_engv2

STAGES, which stands for Support Training Advice Guidance & Educational Services, is a support network for people in Corby and the surrounding area offering help with mental health issues through the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, mindfulness, meditation, complimentary therapies and holistic support.
Mental health issues have always been a big part of my life. I’m currently 49 years old and since the age 17 have been receiving treatment from the Corby Community Mental Health Team for various diagnoses including depression and anxiety, and more recently, bipolar depression. Bipolar depression became a major feature of my life in 2005 when I had a lengthy 6 month stay in hospital. After this I had no support to speak of. I suffered regular breakdowns of my mental health from this point on, which between the years 2010-2014 resulted in annual stays in mental health hospitals for months at a time over the summer periods.
After the last of these visits I started to get involved with the STAGES group upon release. I became aware of this great network through meeting Wayne Read on a life skills course I took part in at Stuart Road Corby Mental Health Clinic, leading me to meet his wife Katie who is the STAGES group director. I’d always wanted to be treated holistically because as you can see above, being treated as the sum of my symptoms didn’t work for me, so this was a dream come true. It’s no coincidence that I haven’t looked back since and I’m now in remission and out of hospital for the longest period of time since receiving my bipolar diagnosis.pp_resources_social_engFB_Cover
As I’m sure you’re aware, mental health issues aren’t always taken as seriously as physical ones, but they can be every bit as debilitating and often more so. This isn’t a glamorous cause, but it is certainly is an important one. STAGES has helped me to turn my life around and I believe it could help so many more people if it just got the funding and support it needs to continue its good work. As a result of engaging with Stages, I’m now in such a wonderful place that my consultant has agreed to a reducing plan for my meds which is making the world of difference to my quality of life. Before this, I was nothing more than a zombie who was unable to get out of bed. Now I am able to wake up and see the sunshine in the morning and I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be happier for this wonderful change which has taken place in my life and wellbeing xx

STAGES ‘Healing Minds – People Helping People’ Project are finalists in this year’s People’s Projects –



A local community group in Corby is calling for your vote to run a project supporting local people suffering from Mental Illness, recovering from alcohol or drug addiction and their families who deal with a lot of stress trying to support them.

The project is one of five groups competing in ITV Anglia West for £50,000 of National Lottery funding in the People’s Projects competition. Voting opens at 9am on Monday 20 March at

The Big Lottery Fund, ITV and The National Lottery have teamed up to give the UK public the chance to decide how £3 million of National Lottery funding will make a difference in their local area. The three projects with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000 to help them develop their work even further to improve the lives of people in their communities.

STAGES Charity is calling on the viewers’ support, with the public voting online to decide who wins the prize. On Tuesday 21st March 2017, STAGES will showcase their project, HEALING MINDS – PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE on ITV ANGLIA WEST REGIONAL NEWS at 6pm. They hope to use the funds to, expand their current work by renting a building in which they can be based permanently.  They would like to train more volunteers in holistic therapies and in other areas.

Katie Read, Founder and Director at STAGES said: “The money will help STAGES to continue to deliver regular Mindfulness, CBT, Meditation, Counselling, Holistic Therapies including Reiki, Crystal Healing, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology Sessions.  We  would like to be able to put together a weekly timetable of events including Mindful Nutrition and other gentle exercise sessions such as Tai Chi, Yoga and Mindful Movement sessions.  This will empower our service users to help themselves by taking care of their own mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and passing on this knowledge through their own family and friends.  Additionally, we would like to deliver more practical skills such as basic life skills, budgeting skills and dealing with difficult situations and we want to facilitate more children’s sessions to ensure that the children in these families are fully supported.  A building of our own would also help us to be self- sufficient in future because we would be able to hold lots of community fundraising events and encourage the Corby Community to get involved in the further expansion of our centre.  The people who have already used our services have fed back to us that our service has been a lifeline to them especially with the cuts to mental health services funding over the last few years.  They have also reported that their lives have changed massively since they joined us.  Those that have been helped want STAGES moving forward to be their life purpose and to help others in the way that they have been helped.”

Dawn Austwick, Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to support 12,000 projects every year that use the knowledge and ideas of local people to strengthen communities. The People’s Projects is a chance for you to decide how National Lottery funding can benefit your local community, so make sure you have your say on who you think should win!”

The People’s Projects is an opportunity to celebrate some of the incredible projects the Big Lottery Fund has supported over the past year. With 95 shortlisted across the UK, the public can now decide which groups should win up to £50,000 develop their project further.

 Voting closes at noon on Monday 3 April 2017. People can vote once per region and will need an email address to vote*. To support the HEALING MINDS – PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE please visit

Since 2005, around £36 million has been awarded through the Big Lottery Fund, National Lottery and ITV/STV partnership to 770 Good Causes across the UK.

For enquiries,  please contact

Katie Read, Founder & Director, STAGES, 7 Stafford Rd, Gretton, CORBY, Northamptonshire, NN17 3DP. 


Tel: 01536 771934