Re-Imagine Me is an inspiring organisation, based at the Fordbridge Centre in Chelmsley Wood, North Solihull and it has been a lifeline (quite literally) for the women who benefit from the support that Michelle and the team provide.
“We focus on working with people in our community who generally have a dual diagnose of mental health and addiction. We provide an un-biased, relaxed and safe space for them to grow and develop and build their confidence to move forward with their lives.” Explains Michelle Walters, Managing Director of Re-Imagine Me.
The CIC received funding from Think Active earlier in 2023, to help purchase fitness equipment that is used in weekly fitness sessions and family fitness workshops which run during the holidays too.
As part of the Moving Stories campaign, we visited and met with the ladies participating in the Wednesday morning fitness class and had the opportunity of finding out more about how important Re-Imagine Me is to them and how they’ve benefited from attending the weekly sessions and channeling their energy and focus into something so physical.
One of the wonderful ladies who shared her very personal story with us was Jo Murray. Jo was happy to tell us about her road to recovery after 20 years of alcohol addiction, which had taken a profound toll on every aspect of her life and her health.
“If it wasn’t for Michelle and Steve and Re-Imagine Me, I probably wouldn’t be on this earth today. They were the support I needed and because of this place I am a completely different person. I’ve got myself back!” expressed Jo.
“I’ve now been free from alcohol and cigarettes for 12 months, but the journey to get here has been unbelievably difficult and at times I didn’t think I’d make it.”
Jo explained that she had almost lost her life twice through ill health in the past three years alone, firstly during the pandemic, where she ended up in Intensive care. But that didn’t give her the impetus to quit her addictive habits and then, only last year, she was back in hospital and given a matter of hours to live.
“My family were called to say goodbye, this was the shift I needed psychologically to change, and I’ve not looked back. I’m now focused on the future, on planning holidays abroad for the first time in 20 years. I’m building back the relationships I’d lost with my kids and hoping to attend my son‘s wedding in France next year too!”
Jo has demonstrated how keeping focused on simple and steady activities in a social environment, like the group fitness classes with Re-Imagine Me, can really be the catalyst to building a healthier and brighter future for yourself. Despite the traumatic and very difficult back story that Jo shared, with 20 years of obstacles and barriers to overcome, it is never too late to make a change.
“I would just encourage anyone reading this to pluck up the courage to come and join something like our group at Re-Imagine Me. It has been a lifesaver and I love it. There is no judgement, no set expectation, you can join in at your own pace and be the person you’ve wanted to be,” said Jo.
Moving Stories is all about identifying the different ways that everyday people have used or benefited from physical activity as an intervention to improve their mental and physical wellbeing and this is a perfect example of having the right group, the right resources, dedicated people delivering support and a person putting themselves in the space to take the help on offer, receive support and make their own destiny.
Michelle is a truly inspiring community leader, who cares passionately about the people they support and the community they serve in North Solihull:
“Jo is just one fantastic example of the power of exercise to make change happen. We are providing support and connection, which is the opposite of addiction and that is key,” explains Michelle.
“We try hard to make everything accessible and affordable for as many people as possible. We also provide respite for kids, particularly during school holidays, some of whom are carers themselves.”
Re-Imagine Me are a small but mighty CIC delivering real and impactful support – for more information about all their services and ways to get involved visit: https://www.reimaginemecic.co.uk/