Johns attends Grow It, Eat it at Windmill Hill City Farm, an Ecominds-funded project that aims to help people to grow and cook healthy food.
This is his story about why he joined the project and what it means to him.
My name is John and I am a 41-year-old man with a number of physical and mental health problems. I joined the group because I have been worried that my health was deteriorating and my mood was at times very low.
I felt that I needed to do something positive to try and start to turn things around by making some small steps towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.
I enjoy food but have often been unmotivated to cook for myself and can tend to eat a lot of junk food. As I am 22 stone and have diabetes this is not a good idea. I have had problems with my blood pressure and am constantly getting ill with infections, which lowers my morale.
Before all of my problems started I was a sociable and busy man. I worked in security and as a steward I attended sporting events at Lords, Chelsea and the Oval. My claim to fame is that I beat Frank Bruno in a snooker game during an exhibition match, luckily he took it well!
Unfortunately after my mother died in 1998 my life went down hill. I had a break-down and tried to take my life, resulting in me being moved into mental health residential care. I was moved from Swindon to a residential home in Bristol and luckily got to hear about Windmill Hill City Farm. I have been attending a Tuesday evening mental health support group at the Farm where I met Beth and Nicky who told me about the project and encouraged me to come along.
I have really enjoyed the group and managed to attend most weeks despite having to cross Bristol which is not easy for me to do. Overall, my physical health has improved and I was pleased to have had a positive check-up yesterday which confirmed that I am making progress. I feel committed to doing more of the right things and am drinking less and eating better.
We have a recipe book from the sessions and I am trying to do a recipe every week. I am eating more healthy food and feel that I have more energy. I enjoyed the social aspect of the group and this has helped me to have the confidence to get involved in other things and I now co-run a mental health drop in group. I am also happier getting buses and generally being more active. I am looking forward to getting involved in the gardening when we can get started next month.
Thank you for funding the project.