After getting a bike transformed his life of pain and depression, this community centre volunteer is supporting others with their mental and physical health.
For much of his life, Eric Sproul battled scoliosis, a condition where the spine twists and curves. Facing constant pain, he also suffered from depression and struggled to find a job. In his misery he distanced himself from friends, family and neighbours, and after ten years of seeing no way out, he planned to take his own life.
But his mother’s death proved a catalyst for change. She left him a small amount of money in her will and insisted that he should buy a bike, something that brought Eric joy and happiness growing up as a child in Easterhouse, a deprived area of Glasgow.
With the help of the bike and the newfound sense of freedom it brought him, Eric’s mental and physical wellbeing improved. A neighbour introduced him to the Phoenix Community Centre and he self-referred through their social prescribing scheme.
Now he is there all day, every day, supporting the voluntary running of the centre and attending the table tennis club twice a week. He also runs the cycling group after the centre encouraged Eric to take a series of bike maintenance and leadership courses.
After his own struggles, Eric now supports other people with their physical and mental health. A combination of his involvement in the Phoenix Centre and his bike means Eric is no longer on the intense medication plan he once relied on.
Eric says: “It was the bike that changed my life. I am scared to think where I would be if I didn’t buy that bike after a decade of hell. Anger and depression just took over everything and I couldn’t break out of it.
“I don’t know where I would be without the Phoenix. It’s life changing. I speak to people and I do things I never used to do. I love cycling and I give back that way.”
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