13 December 2017
We are proud of our ethos to help customers achieve their goals and support what they love doing: we aim to be a community that gives back. That is why Craig, a customer of ours at Fieldhouse Industrial Estate in Lancashire, stood out to us. He is all about giving back and he has used his profession as a fitness coach at Chairzam Life fit, to change the life of one certain person in particular.
Craig is fundraising for a young man named Matt, who was in a coma at the age of 15 only to wake and have no recollection of his past life. Read Craig’s interview as he explains how he aims to give Matt a new start in life.
Chairzam Life Fit is an opportunity for us all to improve every aspect of our life through the way in which we engage in physical activity. Obesity and mental illness are on the increase and our motivation is to get people to achieve great things. My approach teaches people to accept failure as a process and to push through challenging situations using positive thoughts and a few simple rules.
Using the Chairzam Life Fit approach to fitness, alongside my Slim-plify food support, people can become more resilient to life’s problems through self-motivation, honesty, discipline and respect for themselves as well as for others.
I started my idea after the riots that hit the UK. I watched them unfold on the news and said to the wife I wanted to do something to help kids avoid going into a life of crime. As my only real talent revolved around my time in the Army Air Corps as a Military Fitness Instructor I decided to put a program together to teach social values through fitness. I named it SSDE (a social enterprise) and I did this for 18 months alongside my full-time job, giving all the money made back to the project or to charity.
With my wife falling ill I needed a second income, so I had to shut the idea down, gave all the equipment away and started up as Chairzam Fitness. I didn’t want to lose my community feel so I chose to try and stay involved with harder-to-reach groups; Children in Social Care, the Homeless, Mental Health and recovering addicts. I met Matt doing such work.
He was 15 years old when he woke up from a coma after being run over. He had no recollection of his previous life and didn’t have any family. From then on, he spent his whole life in social care and when I met him he was living in a hostel, aged 22. Here is a testimonial from Matt himself:
“Before training I never did anything, I thought the world wasn’t for me and that I didn’t have a place in it. I was on drugs, I wasn’t eating properly and never wanted to do anything, but then I met Craig. Craig made me feel like anything was possible, so much has changed over the last 12 months. I don’t feel like the same person that I use to be. I enjoy everything I do now, training, jogging or even walking. I enjoy making the right choices and becoming a better person. Craig has changed the way I think about things. I’m trying not to be negative and can feel myself finding positive answers. Spending time with Craig, Lindsay and Lesa has made me want to help people like me and show them it can get better. I no longer take drugs, I eat three meals a day and I have volunteered with Petrus, the soup kitchens and I’m about to help someone learn to read. It makes me feel like I am worth something. Craig has also started making me a CV for when I’m ready to work. I see myself getting a job helping people and I now see that there is a place for me in the world and I no longer think it would be a better place without me.”
After the initial 10-week program finished I had got to know Matt and I asked him he if fancied coming to train at my gym. He took up the offer and I said if he committed to change, I was willing to give him my time. I offered him a 6 am 121 personal training session twice a week for free, but he insisted on paying something and gave me £5. This cemented my commitment to him as I felt he was made of the right stuff. I took him to meetings and arranged courses for him to complete, fitness and first aid and some confidence work as well as adventure training.
I arranged work experience in the form of voluntary work and got him the necessary courses required for that role. I created his CV and we kept adding to it. He eventually got some supported accommodation in Middleton, which is a long way from my location, but he was desperate to continue, so I got him a bike and he turned up snow, rain or shine. It took him an hour + to get to me and he was never late.
I have spoken to Matt and told him I would like to sponsor him and get him firstly his driving licence and then hopefully his HGV. This will get him out of his low paid work and give him the opportunity and finances to find accommodation and have some security. Matt has been through the mill and come out the other side still a decent man. I’m extremely excited to be part of Matt's journey again, so we can finish what we started.
What an incredible story; we are proud to house such inspirational customers and be part of Craig’s journey to help others. To donate and support Matt for yourself you can donate via his Just giving page.