The Olympic flame was in Melton Mowbray today, now what?

This isn’t my normal kind of blog post, there is no food involved, no photos.

If you have ever clicked on the “About” section of this blog then you will know that I had an accident just over 2 years ago on May 21st 2010 that radically changed my life. In the blink of an eye I went from being happy, healthy and earning just under 40k a year to being trapped on a sofa bed, barely able to move without excruciating pain and having an income of £99 a week to live on. This somehow would also have to pay the mortgage on my first home that I had just bought 5 months previously and all the other credit/loans/outgoings you tend to acquire when you are used to earning 40k a year and assume you will always have that coming in.

The last 2 and a half years have been really difficult but I’ve got through it but it’s been tough. Actually it’s been really fucking tough, it’s been crawl up in a ball and cry your eyes out  because I can’t see a way out/can’t pay the mortgage this month/have to sit in the dark because we can’t afford to put money on the meter/can’t afford a pint of milk/stamp tough, yeah you get the idea.

And yes I’ve been low, low to the point that feeling that way feels “normal” and it’s only when you go to see a doctor about something mundane, like a really swollen throat, and they ask you how you are feeling, and you tell them and they get “that look”. That look that says, “this isn’t normal” and then they question you further for their Suicide Risk checklist and you wonder why they are being so concerned about your answers because you feel this every day, this is normal for you right now. Yeah I’ve been there, I’ve been there many times since I was 12 years old and I’m now 34.

We are losing people in our town who feel desperate, alone and estranged. There are things we can do to help as individuals like looking out for one another but there is so much more that we can do as a community.

Melton Mowbray lost many people over the last 14 months, several of them young, who felt alone and unable to cope with their situations. In the kitchen today I worked with a young man doing work experience who told me that his age group are in desperate need. We lost another young member of our community this weekend. Members of our town really are in desperate need, not just our youth, many of us are in need, but it’s predominantly our children, our teenagers and our young adults that are bearing the brunt of our disappearing shops, jobs, leisure facilities and community.

After the torch had passed through the town today and I had closed up the cafe, I walked through the town square where there was still the Torch Roadshow truck playing music. Teenagers were dancing, laughing, shouting and having a whale of a time but the metal barriers were being gathered, the stalls dissembled and the music turned off. Where do they go now?  Lack of staffing has seen our youth clubs closed, the council has shut the leisure centre for the summer to refurbish and because there are no jobs in the town the teenagers have no money.

People talk about our “disaffected youth”- disaffected: adjective alienatedresentfuldiscontentedhostileestranged, dissatisfiedrebelliousantagonisticdisloyalseditious,mutinous, uncompliant, unsubmissive.   The irony is that our young people seem to be the most affected by what is going on around them and their voices are being lost.

I work with a Melton Mowbray charity called Lost For Words that was set up earlier this year when members of the community came together in the wake of losing several young people, to try and give emotional support to everyone who needs it though our free website resource database. 

A person, just holding a piece of metal with a tiny flame, passed that tiny little flame to another person, holding just another piece of metal today in our town centre, and managed to bring our community together for a couple of hours in the rain.  Just think what we could do if we put our minds to it. Our shops are closing and our town centre is dying, lets make sure that we do everything we can to try and save our community and try and prevent another flame from being extinguished.

The Olympic flame passed through Melton Mowbray today and brought a community briefly together, what can we now do to bring it back?

13 thoughts on “The Olympic flame was in Melton Mowbray today, now what?

  1. Nick says:

    The trouble is nowadays everyone is only interested in themselves we have become very selfish. People are so rapped up on their own lives and give very little thought to anyone else. We are scared to get involved with each others lives. We have become an uncaring society. This is made worse by the way people now think, people are scared if they get involved what are the consequences. We all need to change, if everyone did 1 nice thing every day (however small) for another person, imagine the difference it would make. Instead of thinking it doesn’t concern me, try thinking what if that was me how would I feel. Maybe just maybe we could make a difference to the lives of these people, who feel so desperate that they think the only way out is suicide, and we could just make alot of people’s lives alot happier!!!

  2. HazyP says:

    Thats very true, there are however lots of fantastic people trying to make a difference in our community but we need more people to get involved in order for the difference to be felt by our whole town. We have no community centre in Melton Mowbray but lots of empty buildings, this would be a great place to start.

  3. Kelly Gibbs says:

    Thank you Hazel for being so down right honest about the reality of life. It’s not easy to talk out loud about personal issues, so hats off to you speaking out for Melton despite your own difficulties. And isn’t that what being a community is about. Accepting that alone, life is really tough, especially when things go wrong. But as a group, it’s easier to get on through the hard times if we all feel we count? And how do we know we count?

  4. lesley morgan says:

    Hazel thank you for this..After the torch had passed there did feel a sadness in the air that me and a friend could not quite put our finger on..but we could feel the emptyness of our town.. Lost for words is greaty needed and it will happen..If i can do anymore to help you..You no were my door is xx

  5. Lewis says:

    Im a 25 year old lad from Melton, less than 2 and a half years ago I didnt have a worry in the world, I had a great job in a bank, money behind me, no responsabilities n not a worry in the world, fast forward to the present day and I now have no job (I was sacked 4 transfering 20 quid from my brothers savings account to his currant account, he was on the phone to me at the time, I know, rediculous!), lots of debt, a 2 year old n my dads dead! I could handle losing my job, my debt n even being a full-time dad (keep in mind Id never even held a baby before Little one was born) but 3 weeks after my son was born my father unexpectedly hung himself at the age of 42! Leaving behind a devistated family. This was 2 years ago yesterday and Im not ashamed to say its been a difficult n dark time 4 me, drinking too much, being moody, lockin myself away n taking it out on the people whom love n care for me. If it wasnt for the Little one, who knows what Id of done in those dark times but now, 2 years on there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Time is a healer but talking is the best way for you to try to understand, wheather that be to a friend, family member, a doctor or someone whose not involved at all, it helps clear the mind. Too many young lifes r being taken away from us and we need to come together n help. People need to understand that depression is an illness just like a common cold, it doesnt mean ur a ‘weirdo’, it just means that u need to take some time, clear ur head, talk to someone and maybe take some medicine. Think of the people around u, never be affraid to talk and if u do think its embarrassing, talk to someone whom u dont know n isnt involved. If I can help in any way I will. Lifes too short so live life to its full. The reason why I wrote this is to hopefully encourage people to talk about their problems as they’re not alone.

  6. HazyP says:

    Thank you Lewis for sharing your story and I’m so sorry for your loss. You have incredible strength and I know that speaking out about depression really does help, not just ourselves but others who read real accounts like this and know that things will get better if we ask for help. I am so glad that your difficult times are getting easier as time passes. Our town is suffering greatly right now and as a community we can try to heal and help each other through these times and give emotional support to those who need it. Once again, thank you so much for having the courage to share your story and if you ever would like to get involved in Lost For Words then we would be really pleased to welcome you along x

  7. Lewis says:

    No worries at all. Like I said it helps to talk. I had a friend come round last night, not a best friend or even a close friend, just a mate I used to go out drinking with years ago whom has lost a friend at the weekend, we chatted about both our loses n I woke up thismorning feeling alot better. Before last night I didnt really talk to any1 n just by having that 1 long chat has cleared my mind n helped my mate understand a little bit more n stay strong. I do have spare time n would love to get involved n help people whom r even depressed themselves or have lost someone close due to suicide so please let me know x

  8. Jamie says:

    I have always been a Melton born and bread kinda guy. Growing up and living in Melton through my teens/early adulthood seemed for me and my friends great as we had things to do. Even when we started to go for our first nights out in the town (legally – of course) the town seemed to be buzzing with all types of people; Young, Old, Single, Married, people on their own/groups of people that socialised with eachother. Now it seems to be full of ilegal teens, drugs seem to be very popular now (And I know this is not just Melton, this I think is a national issue) I have had many good times in Melton but it seems that soo many factors have spoilt our town. The council seem to neglect young people now and although there are people that are trying to make a difference, it seems they do not see a need to provide young people with an alternative choice other than walking the streets/parks. We have lost so many shops/pubs and even now we are having to fight for something that is an option for young people, our local cinema. I lost a friend a short while ago through depression and I find it difficult to comprehend what was going through his mind; Although when I think about it, many of these factors of the ‘GOOD times’ have gone with the town over the last 1-10 years. Unless we start to brighten up the town and introduce the fun back into Melton it will in my eyes remain to be more like a ghost town year on year. I apologise for baffling, but I just read this and it completely makes 100% sense. We need to change the feel of our town and ALSO support those in need of help without looking at anxieties/depression as anything other than an Ilness which we all as individuals can help.

  9. HazyP says:

    Thanks for getting in touch Jamie, perhaps you would like to come along to the first Lost For Words public meeting next month? It takes place on October 2nd at 7:30pm at Longfield School. We will have guest speakers including leicestershire Samaritans who we work very closely with and are inviting members of the council to attend also. We will be encouraging discussion about what we as a community can do to improve our town’s emotional health. It would be fantastic if you could come along and anyone else that you know, it is an open meeting and everyone is encouraged. Hazel

  10. Jamie says:

    That sounds great, I would have loved to but unfortunately I am away. Is the intention of this becoming more frequent as I would like to attend. I hope it all goes well ad I certainly will be making others aware of the Lost For Words meeting. Thanks Hazel. Jamie

  11. HazyP says:

    That’s a shame Jamie but thank you for letting others know about it. It’s our first public meeting, we will soon be introducing evenings of guest speakers on various relevant topics for anyone to attend, it would be great if you could make it along. Our intention is to get as many members of the community aware about us and the help and support available in and around Melton.

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