A Much Hoole man who was struggling with mental health has rebuilt his confidence by helping a local business build its customer base.Advertisement
Ric Brame approached Longton-based coffee shop Lemon Tree about a collaboration earlier this year.
As well as wanting to help a newly established business succeed, Ric saw the project as a way to help himself rebuild his confidence and resilience through recent struggles with stress and anxiety.
Ric said: “The stress had built gradually throughout lockdown. Working from home was having both a physical and a mental impact on my wellbeing, and affecting my ability to perform effectively at work.”
Read more: ‘I wore a mask’ – one Leyland man’s journey to opening up about mental health
As a result of the situation, Ric took a period off his full-time job to get to grips with the anxiety and explore new ways of living.
“Along with sleep, diet and exercise, I recognised early that I needed to be proactive and help others in order to create learning opportunities to overcome the anxiety,” said Ric.
“This wasn’t easy, but I tried to find challenges with achievable personal goals that could boost my confidence and offer outputs for others as a result.
“Working with Lemon Tree was perfect as I could apply my professional skills in enterprise and creative thinking to connect the business to new markets.”
One of those new markets was the cycling community, including social riders, commuters and competitive cyclists.
With a passion for Longton, cycling, food and wellbeing, the co-founder and owner of Lemon Tree, Tony Brocklebank, was keen to connect with cycling communities across South Ribble and Lancashire.
Armed with the vision for the coffee shop to be a local destination point for cyclists, Ric began to focus on researching the market and creating solutions.
“I provided Tony with a range of short to medium and long-terms actions, which are now bearing fruit (pardon the pun), as trade is continuing to grow week by week. Something that is fantastic to see.
“It was huge for my self-esteem and a stepping stone for me returning back to employment earlier this month.”
Read more: ‘My stress blows away in the wind’ – Preston man speaks about the mental health benefits of connecting with nature
Speaking about how Ric has helped Lemon Tree, Tony said: “Ric’s study very quickly identified areas of the cycling market as well other opportunities we could explore, and has given us a raft of ideas that we can implement over time.
“The process was straightforward and simple, helped us clarify our thoughts, and allowed us to develop and grow our business more quickly.
“It’s very easy when you run a small business to get wrapped up in your own way of thinking, and gaining an independent viewpoint is always a great idea.”
Ric also credits PeerTalk mentoring services for helping him get back on track.
He said: “PeerTalk provide opportunities for those experiencing mental health challenges to come together, talk and support one another on a weekly basis.
“It’s a community enterprise that has been a fantastic outreach to me and many other group attendees.”
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
What do you think of Ric’s story? Have you ever helped yourself through helping others? Let us know in the comments.