A Community That Saved Me.
“Without community, there is no liberation” – Audre Lorde
I arrived in Hamelin having had a chaotic and dangerous ﬁve or so years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. My loving family needed me to be safe and start my own life as well as lead a full life themselves.
I was welcomed warmly by staff and house mates alike, which made my life more bearable despite being paranoid, depressed and scared of everything. From there, I began to realise that not everyone was against me. The healing home cooked food and the relaxed nature of Hamelin House gave me a good grounding.
The Pubs in town begin to not scare me so much and staff did not judge me when I felt in a panic. I enjoyed outdoor activities and have fond memories of long walks across Dartmoor and Canadian Canoeing along the River Dart. The cooking workshops made me feel like myself again. I made use of the local Totnes swimming pool and Cafe culture. My friendships grew with staff and housemates alike and I began to drive to the cinema with friends and then got the conﬁdence to reconnect with people I knew before I was ill. Having all this as a part of my story has been a gift and I am truly privileged to have met so many kind and positive people through the process.
From my perspective the Community of St Anthony and St Ellias is a safe, compassionate space where I felt able to stop. From there I felt able to gather my thoughts and the people there helped me to realise that life is, very much worth living.
The Boat trips on the River Dart and the Golf Club dinner dances are things I still go to to catch up with friends and I love to see how everyone is doing and tell them my news. This mutual support is vital and because of the masses of friendly faces, I feel so much happiness when I see so many wonderful people living their lives and achieving so much. Despite all the challenges people are overcoming them heroically and thriving in life.
When I received a personalised certiﬁcate at my ﬁrst Golf Club Dinner, I was very shy but felt very grateful that my achievements were valued. I treasure it it is one of my most prized possessions. Thank you!
I have lived independently in Exeter for almost eight years now. I’m very much enjoying community life having learned social skills from my Totnes friends. I have worked as a support worker for ‘Sense’ part time now for ﬁve years and have taken up, pantomimes, musical theatre and have the conﬁdence to travel the World alone again. Doing voluntary work for Marine Conservation in Madagascar and exploring Canada. I recently did a Shania Twain Tribute act in my local pub and sing on open mics in Exeter.
I have worked hard to get to where I am now and I cherish it because of the wonderful people who helped me and are present in my life because of the challenges I had to face. Knowing that I will never walk alone is of great comfort to me and it feels great to be grounded and healthy.
I am eternally thankful and grateful to Father Benedict Ramsden and Lilah Ramsden for their inspirational, imaginative and caring vision that has been so beneﬁcial to many, including me. I believe this ethos and belief system will also ﬁlter through into those who are struggling to ﬁnd hope and meaning within their lives. Little steps that the community supported me to make have changed my life for the better. The process has been enormously humbling. Thank you.
I carry the community around in my heart everywhere I go. As a group of people, you have all given me both roots to feel stable and wings to explore the world. My only limit is me now and I am committed to fearlessly living my life to the full. I believe in myself and endeavor to push myself outside of my comfort zone to keep achieving my dreams. Its a privilege to continue to be part of the Community of St Anthony and St Ellias which is so thriving and truly unique. Thank you!