WELLBEING AWARD – Ronnie Wheeler

Main Award – Ronnie Wheeler

This very special guy has a heart of gold and draws on his own experience to help others, including those affected by substance misuse and the homeless.

Please click here to watch his nomination video and below is his nomination, plus photos from the evening.


Volunteering Activity:

To provide a safe relaxed space where people can access a free breakfast twice a week. Everyone is welcome especially those in Recovery, those with mental health concerns and local homeless people.

Reason for nomination:

Ronnie is an inspiration partly because of the challenges he has had to overcome himself. This has also led to him being compassionate and supportive of the group that access the service. His determination, persistence and commitment has created the group. He inspires others and has built a great team of volunteers to meet the increasing need. Ronnie models resilience as the café is run essentially by those who use it. This sustains a good community feel and a sense of belonging and ownership for those who attend. This also helps to fight isolation within the group as well as encouraging vulnerable people to believe that they can achieve and be part of something good.

Where there have been cuts in other services such as Mind Mental Health in Dudley, Recovery café has caught some of the beneficiaries who would no longer be able to access a service like this. Recovery café receives 30-40 people each week, who are traditionally very hard to reach, but Ronnie’s relational and non-judgemental approach has allowed the group to flourish. Some beneficiaries have gone on to receive additional support having been effectively signposted to relevant services, others have simply built a friendship network in a safe environment.

One particular volunteer with additional needs has been supported through drug problems, relationship issues and ongoing mental health challenges. Ronnie has encouraged him to keep on track by volunteering at the café, where he feels he has value and a purpose.