A woman whose life was turned around by Derventio Housing Trust is to hold an event to raise funds so that others can be given the same support.
Denise Bowles is now employed by Inclusion North, which works to make inclusion a reality for people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families.
It is a huge turnaround for the 41-year-old, who was once without a home or a job.
Not only did Derventio provide Denise with accommodation in her hour of need, but also built up her confidence and life skills through its Cotmanhay-based Growing Lives programme, through which she enjoyed regular craft activities, woodwork, socialising and outdoor farm work.
Denise, who has a mild learning difficulty, lived in Derventio Housing Trust accommodation for several years before moving on.
Denise, who is known locally as ‘Denbo’, said: “If it wasn’t for Derventio, I would have been on the streets.
“Now I’ve left Derventio, I’ve moved forward, I’ve got a book out, I’m doing an event and I’m working and earning.
“The Growing Lives project at Derventio was something I loved doing. I volunteered for it, doing arts, crafts, cooking and growing crops.
“When I first started working, being employed and getting paid, I had been out of the world of work for 15 years.
“I had been doing voluntary work in that time but I was on benefits. Being on benefits helped because I had to survive but I felt guilty because I wasn’t earning my own money. I felt like I wasn’t in charge of my own money.”
Now to repay Derventio, Denise is staging an event at Ilkeston Town Football Club on 23 February to raise funds for the trust.
The event, which will mark two years since she published a book telling her own story, will feature the vocal talents of Electric Rainbow, as well as a raffle.
Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy at Derventio Housing Trust, said: “Denise’s story is one of courage and hope. The way she has triumphed over obstacles is inspirational.
“It’s great to see how someone can move on from Derventio Housing Trust to living independently and paid employment.
“I hope lots of people can support her event in Ilkeston Town Football Club in February, to celebrate how far she has come.”
To book a ticket for Denise’s event, visit http://tinyurl.com/4mhtzzvv .