David’s story

David's story

“If I can help and encourage other people whilst on the allotment, that’s what it’s all about.”

David Lunt volunteers with Drink Wise, Age Well, on an allotment project in Sheffield. He inspires others to get involved with gardening as a way of leading a happier, healthier lifestyle away from alcohol. David, aged 56, has experienced alcohol issues and isolation and says the allotment was his ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Discovering Drink Wise, Age Well

“I got involved by accident in a way. I was going to the shop to do some shopping and they had the Drink Wise, Age Well stand outside. I was chatting to the staff about how I’d had drink issues. They asked if I wanted to come in and talk to someone. So I did. I had a one to one with a counsellor and was able to talk about how my drinking was affecting my life now.

“Because I’d just finished some other volunteer work and didn’t have much focus in my life, I’d started drinking a bit more. They told me about an allotment project they needed volunteers for and I got introduced to the project leader. It was right up my street as I’m a keen gardener and had always wanted to have an allotment of my own. It was a light at the end of the tunnel.

“The plot was just wasteland, so it was a real challenge, but one I was up for. Now it’s a fantastic little place. I picked some strawberries there just yesterday.

“The allotment helps me focus on other things”

“I enjoy being out there and having something to do. Through Drink Wise, Age Well, I’ve had some counselling, and while I still have alcohol issues, it’s under control. The allotment helps me focus on other things. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life.

“I’m lucky to have a strong supportive family now, but I know there are many people in their 50s who don’t and face issues in isolation, which is when many people turn to drink. The allotment helps with getting people out of the house, meeting new people and getting a bit of exercise

“I’ve had alcohol issues since my early 20s and because of it I lost a lot; firstly my partner, so I moved down south to start a new job and hopefully a new life but the problem came with me and then I lost my job and eventually my home. Things started to collapse around me so I came back to Sheffield homeless but at the time my family turned their back on me, I was desperate and had no one to turn to and I was in a very dark place. Eventually it was the Salvation Army that got me off the streets and into an alcohol service for support.

What’s next?

“Now, through Drink Wise, Age Well, I’ve met some really smashing people; staff and volunteers. I look at my future and I know I’m going to be alright. Drink Wise, Age Well is one of the best organisations I’ve ever been involved with. If I can help and encourage other people by volunteering, that’s what it’s all about.”

To find out more about Drink Wise, Age Well visit drinkwiseagewell.org.uk