Where it began
My extensive experience across various sectors led me to set up Little Blackbird in 2022 following a significant life event.
In March 2020, during the initial stages of the Covid pandemic, my son was born with a serious Congenital Heart Defect. He had to have life-saving emergency treatment as soon as he was born, and underwent open heart surgery at eight days old.
The resilience he demonstrated from the very second he was born and his fight for life was incredible, however I struggled with anxiety due to the trauma we went through in his first weeks of life, which was further compounded by the Covid restrictions in place at the time.
After accessing support to manage some of the issues impacting on my wellbeing and functioning and seeing a huge improvement, I decided to focus more specifically on the wellbeing aspects of my work, and Little Blackbird was born.
Why Little Blackbird?
“Blackbird” by The Beatles was the first song I ever played to my son.
He was a few hours old and critically ill in NICU. The words resonated with me and became “his song”.
He is now a fit and healthy little boy! The resilience he showed taught me so much, and inspires the work I do every day.
You will see from many of the Programmes we offer here at Little Blackbird, that there is a focus on male mental well-being. The development of a lot of my masculinity based interventions continue to be driven by a second significant life event.
Tragically, in March 2022, one of my oldest, closest friends, Mike, felt that he had no other choice but to take his own life. This is always something that will be utterly incomprehensible to me, as does the fact that we, as his closest friends had no idea at all that he was struggling so significantly. Within my delivery I talk about Mike, and the impact his death has had on me. We will always keep moving forward with this work – challenging stigmas, creating opportunities for open and honest communication and support.
Within my delivery, I use my personal experiences to contextualise theory around wellbeing, and I believe in the importance of demonstrating vulnerability when encouraging others to do the same. When working with individuals and groups, the notion of vulnerability is always forefront of my mind. Behaviours, disengagement and reduced progress are often underpinned by the challenges and difficulties people encounter and each require individualised support to realise their potential. Feedback highlights how impactful my interactive style is, and the genuine and meaningful effect this has on participants.