A chance encounter in Nottingham
John McCallum, East Midlands Near Neighbours Coordinator and Development Officer, shares a touching story about meeting a past grant applicant.
When I am helping new people explore a Near Neighbours application, I try and choose a safe and friendly venue for them to meet me. I often use the New Arts Centre’s café in Nottingham.
I was recently there and as I was about to leave, a confident smiling lady came up to me. She said “Is that you, John? You helped me with an application 2 years ago.” I recognised her face and when she spoke I realised that she was one of the first applicants I had met when Near Neighbours had opened in Nottingham. I remember at the time she was trembling and almost in tears partly because of the trauma she had experienced, and partly because she was so worried about what I might say about her idea to work with vulnerable women.
Her application eventually led to a grant for a very successful project and went on to achieve other activities with women from faith communities.
She continued: “Thank you so much for helping me. As a result, I had the confidence to go to college to study beauty therapy, and I now have a career that I greatly enjoy and life is so much better.” I assured her that it was my privilege to be of some small help. I also reminded her that she was the real hero in all that she had done to help others and make change in her own life.