For years Steve and his wife Anne ran a successful haulage business. But their whole life changed when Anne was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 42. For the next 15 years, Steve cared for Anne at home until her death, supported by a specialist dementia nurse. Understandably this took its toll, and Steve’s own health suffered.

Steve marquee

With the loss of his beloved Anne and the responsibility and pressure of caring for her as she deteriorated, Steve was left with deep depression. He often found himself thinking of suicide. Steve considers Seachange as the single most important thing that helped him on his road to recovery.

A referral from his GP to a social prescriber introduced Steve to Seachange. From there he was offered counselling to help him find ways to cope with grief and the loss of the life he had imagined. He was also encouraged to join the gym. “I had been given lots of different advice and suggestions for things to do. I was willing to try anything” Steve says.

“The gym helped me. It gave me a feeling of being able to get my own health back a bit more. I’m never going to be the man I was, but at least I can be the best version of the man I am today.”

But for Steve, who is now 63, it is not just the counselling and the gym that helped. It was Seachange itself that played a role. “When you are here at the Hub, people care about your well-being and they want to help you. That includes the reception staff, the café, and the managers. It really does make a difference.”

Steve's Marquee
One of Steve's creations, our café marquee

Steve's Volunteering

Steve is now a familiar face at Seachange as he works one day a week as a handyman, helping us out with odd jobs. This also means Steve gets to see the ongoing impact of Seachange on others. “I see people coming in and out of the Hub all the time. They are sad when they come in and smiling when they go out. This must be the best measure of its effect you can find.”

“Seachange is there to help anyone and everybody. With the transport service, it means that anyone can ring up and book a car to be taken in, including wheelchair users. For people that visit NHS clinics, it means they can without having to travel too far. It is a place you can go and get help.

I tell all my friends to go and check it out, as there is a lot going on there that people might not know about. It’s a nice place, with nice people and I also encourage people to just call in for a coffee or bite to eat if they are in the area.”

Steve, who is now happily remarried, is back working full-time on building projects. His wife uses the gym all the time too after an initial referral for cardio rehab.

Steve says “I am looking forward to seeing people around. Seachange is a great thing to have in Budleigh, as there are a lot of elderly and lonely people, especially with what we’ve all been going through in the last year. A lot of people just come in for a chat. It is somewhere people can go to feel safe and relaxed. It is just friendly.


“The Seachange is an inspiring and comforting place. It is a real community and I feel proud and privileged to be part of it.”

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