Many helping hands turn David’s life around Recovering enough to work again has been a team effort for Bolsover’s David Harding.  After years of sickness and unemployment, he now has two business ventures thanks to the support of his family, the Blackwell Care Home and the Work for Yourself programme.  David’s DEK Gardening venture is based on his life-time hobby and, with over 25 years’ experience, his Gladstone Upholstery business fits in during wet weather. “Reading the Work for Yourself advert in the local paper was the very start of my healing process”, David said, “From a three year downward spiral of depression and overdoses, I decided that I couldn’t get any lower but had to bounce back.  I wanted to be the person I used to be.  Depression is an illness but it can be beaten with determination, support from friends and family and the right treatment.  Now I can work and I’ve got a purpose in life.  It’s good to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for people with depression and other conditions.” David praised his Business Adviser saying, “I think of him as more of a friend than just a mentor.  He showed me how to set up the businesses, how to talk to people and deal with problems.  Most importantly, he boosted my confidence.  Now my life and health are much better – just being outside makes me feel good and there’s always someone who wants to stop and chat.  With the upholstery, it’s really satisfying to still be using the skills from a whole career.”  You can find out more about the Work for Yourself programme by calling Theresa on 0845 459 2547, 07446 366391 or email:  theresa@disabilitydynamics.co.uk. David was so grateful to his family for standing by him over the difficult years that he named his gardening business to celebrate his daughters.  “I’d been run over when I was 16 and my leg was smashed from top to bottom” he explained, “I’d been doing upholstery for my whole career until I took redundancy when I had to have my damaged knee replaced plus other operations on my hands and shoulders.  I’m in constant pain from the silent illness, fibro-myalgia.” David was emphatic that giving up work because of his health was the wrong decision and said, “taking “medical retirement” is the worst thing you can do and the greatest mistake of my life.  You just feel worthless and end up watching day-time television.  My marriage went through a rocky period and I was losing friends by being so self-absorbed.  I hated the life I had and couldn’t stand it any longer.” The support of the Blackwell Care Home was also crucial to David: “They knew of me through my wife who works there – they saw someone who wasn’t doing too well and they gave me a chance.  Now I have recovered about 30 of the chairs used by their residents and I’m also their groundskeeper.  I’m proud that my work in the garden and the entrance hall seating sets the tone for the whole establishment.  But they have done much more: helping me with business promotion, giving me advice and helping me succeed.” David undertakes all aspects of gardening and grounds maintenance from routine mowing and pruning to soft landscape design and he can turn his hand to most jobs around the garden.  He covers the area from Matlock to South Normanton and Blackwell.  As a skilled upholsterer, he will strip chairs and sofas back to their frames, replace webbing and padding before cutting, sewing and piping the covering fabric to give new life to favourite furniture.  He plans to extend this in to reupholstery of caravan interiors.
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