The SpeedoMick Foundation will provide support in helping young people to improve life skills and broaden their horizons giving them positive experiences by inclusion.
Therapeutic Group Sessions
Listening & Understanding
John o’ Groats to Lands End
I will be walking 1000 miles to fundraise for The Speedo Mick Foundation starting on the 6th December from John o’ Groats to Lands End. I will of course be making this journey whilst being in my swimming attire, ie speedos, goggles and hat which will make this challenge a very cold one but it will bring a lot of smiles to people’s faces I am sure, as well as raising awareness and vital funds to start up our new projects .
We are fundraising for community projects for disadvantaged young people, creating opportunities to bring people together to overcome isolation and experience positive attention and affirmation.
A third of children our living in poverty in our area after decades of austerity has stripped away many of our vital services and safety nets that help stop vulnerable people falling through those safety nets. The measure of a civilised society and caring society is how we treat and care for the most vulnerable in that society.
In response to the issues that leave people isolated and hopeless, we want to respond with community projects that bring people together so that they may draw from each other’s strengths.
We would like to help build a more inclusive community where everyone is welcome respected and supported.
Please join us in trying to make a difference wether it be big or small we can all do something that helps another human being.
My name is Michael Cullen aka SpeedoMick. Today I am part of something that has given me back my self-respect, my confidence, my humility and my sense of belonging back to me. “The Speedo Mick Foundation” is a Community Interest Company giving back to the community that is in need of help and support and today myself and our team are capable of offering this support.
It has not always been this way for me. For a long time, I was in need of that very same help and support that I am now offering to others. I have been the homeless person you see in the shop doorway, the addict, the alcoholic, the hopeless case that had made so many bad decisions that there was surely no way back.
I could not see any way out. I had become isolated from society and left to my own devices I made things much worse. I was no longer a part of my family and I had nothing to contribute to my community. I made these terrible decisions in my life in order to block out the pain I was feeling inside and as a result I took no responsibility and I blamed everybody else for the position I found myself in. I was so entrenched in my self-destructive behaviour patterns that I had lost sight of the compassionate loving caring person I always hoped I’d be.
I had mostly been given up on by my community and by my family and my friends. Not because they didn’t want to help but because they had tried to help me so many times without success so in the end it just seemed futile to try. I had to accept help from others, the power was in my hands and the decision had to be made by me to first of all except that I needed help to reach deep inside to find the flicker of hope that was left and I could return and become the man I longed to be and to fulfil my ambition to once again be a part of my loving family and a productive member of my community and society as a whole.
As a child I was was never given very much guidance and I was off the rails from a very young age and in fact actively encouraged to be a naughty child by my peers and all the grown-ups around me. I was only too happy to oblige with my bad behaviour as this was the way I received my attention. I carried this behaviour on through to my adult life hence I made some bad decisions, decisions that cost me my home my family and my friends, not to mention my dignity and pride.
After spending many years suffering from self-loathing anger, pity and a self-destructive nature I was offered a helping hand to get back on my feet. After decades of fighting and doing things my way, I finally surrendered and accepted help. Although I didn’t know it at the time, that was the first step into a new life, a new me and most of all back to my family and friends who I had missed and longed for over two decades.
If I’d had three wishes, the first one would of been to be reunited with my family. The second one would of been to stand on my own two feet again. The third wish would of been to be able give back what had been freely given to me, to give help and support to anyone, young or old, who was isolated and suffering.
I had given up on myself, but there were beautiful people who had not and understood my condition more than I did myself and they showed me that there was another way out of the life I had made for myself and back into my family’s arms and to become a productive member of society and by following their example I have turned my life around.
There is always room for improvement but what has happened to me is nothing short of a miracle. I have made it my life’s ambition to give back to others and this is where I get my own strength. I had no ambitions or goals of my own when I started this journey, they had all been crushed by my lack of self-esteem, thinking I was never good enough and that I would never fit in.
However, on my journey out of isolation and into belonging I can tell you that I have many accomplishments today and I have met many goals and I have fulfilled many dreams. I have had the honour of becoming a valued member of society and of my community. I have been awarded the Echo community personality of the year. I have also been awarded the pride of sport fundraiser of the year, shortlisted for Just Giving fundraiser of the year, Echo fundraiser of the year and I have also been shortlisted for the Pride of Britain Award. I have walked thousands of miles ran marathons and finished many triathlons .
I have also swam the English Channel, I know right? I still cannot believe it myself but I did! But by far my best accomplishments are the fact that I have become a father, a husband, a brother and a son that my family can be proud of and none of all of the awards or recognition would of happened had I not been shown compassion when I was at my worst.
So I am in return doing the same. I hope to start some therapeutic groups up so people can talk in confidence about their doubts and fears and to encourage them to join in and step outside of their own comfort zones and do something different something positive and to begin to trust and believe in themselves. We can only do these things together we cannot do them alone. Believe me, I’ve tried. At The Speedo Mick Foundation we would like to offer help to children who may not have the support they need through no fault of their own or their families.
We need to tackle the problems in our society by being caring, compassionate and loving to our children and encouraging them to do different things to get them together and help them grow in confidence and self-esteem. We could encourage them to join theatre classes or dance classes, give them swimming lessons boxing lessons or give them the opportunity to play an instrument. We can look for opportunities to give positive attention in a variety of ways with patience, encouragement and understanding.
There are so many reasons why adults turn out like I did and I believe we can address these issues before they hit the critical stage of self-destruction by broadening their horizons and offering supportive environments.
We will also be celebrating young people who have overcome adversity to become a valuable member of society, passing on the message on that we can recover and we can change. We can make a difference in the world in the community in our families and to ourselves by giving a little back each day. That difference could just be sending a text to ask how someone is, smiling at a stranger or saying ‘how are you?’ to a neighbour.
You don’t have swim the channel to make a difference (though you can if you want, I did!) We can all make a difference in a positive way and hope you can join me in helping us make a difference with The Speedo Mick Foundation. We hope to be able to give young people the opportunity to help one another without having to worry about the financial cost.