"If it wasn't for the House of Heroes I would be dead". These were the words of Mark Nicholson, when he had completed the programme at House of Heroes, Ovis Farm Project in July 2005. He had been a homeless, drug addict, living in an outside toilet on the streets of Exmouth, and had been referred to the Ovis Farm Project by the local Open Door Centre. Mark completed the programme and then moved out into the community. However, he wanted to give something back so he returned as a support worker, the job that he did for the next two years. In April 2007, he went out to Zimbabwe as he had expressed an interest in working with children in Africa. He fell in love with the people and the country, and in December 2007 returned to Bulawayo, where he started working with homeless and disadvantaged people. He met his future wife Dorcas Dhlula and in April 2009, they were married and have now taken in ten orphaned and abandoned children, between the ages of 18 months and 10 years, whom they are caring for in a loving Christian home. Mark says that although things are difficult living in Zimbabwe, he knows that is where God wants him to be, and he wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
Mick joined us in 2008 as a heroin addict, his addiction was chronic and destroying his very life. If Mick was at this point to continue taking heroin then he would most certainly die. Mick contacted House of Heroes and spoke to Chris and very soon afterward he was interviewed. He was accepted and entered the recovery programme at the House of Heroes Ovis Farm Project. He successfully graduated in 2009 and moved back home to his wife in Bideford. He attributes his change to the same Jesus he met at Ovis Farm in 2008. He is still living successfully in the community, working and in regular contact with us and of course Jesus. He also volunteers in the Gym at the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple
Dean first became involved with House of Heroes as a resident in 2008. He successfully graduated the recovery programme and moved back to Newark. In early 2009 he returned to work for the House of Heroes as a support worker, and lived in the main house at Ovis Farm. In October 2009 he moved to our Resettlement Project in Barnstaple as House manager, he also commuted 4 days per week to work as a Support Worker at the Ovis Farm Project. In March 2010 Dean got married to his new wife Helen, Dean has now moved on to begin his new Window Cleaning business, "Cleaned BY Dean" and is still in regular contact with us.
Terry had spent the last 10 years in 8 different places of rehabilitation. He struggled with addiction to drugs including crack cocaine. Terry had a very violent childhood and had started using drugs when he was 9 years old. Terry struggled to trust people, and was extremely defensive and verbally aggressive. Terry showed very admirable determination to succeed, although he had many difficult days he continued to make progress. Terry has stayed on at House of Heroes where he volunteers with the farm work, he has recently completed an NVQ in farming and enjoys being part of the farming community locally. Terry intends to work full time in farming once he has sufficient experience. Terry often shows a talented creative side, he writes poetry, and is currently writing a book about his life and journey out of addiction.
Chris came to House of Heroes in August 2009. He had lost everything due to becoming an alcoholic. After spending a year in a hostel in Reading Chris was very keen to come to North Devon as he enjoys being in the countryside. Although he had been offered a nice flat in Reading, he realised that he would not overcome his addiction without help and support. He knew he would die if he stayed in Reading. Chris found some of the group work challenging, but generally thrived in the community and the surroundings. After he completed the programme Chris stayed on at House of Heroes as a volunteer to help with the Administration. In July 2011 Chris became a full time employee managing the Administration for House of Heroes.
“If you want your recovery get on the bus now”. Those words were spoken to me by Chris Saunders on the 28th Feb 2010 and I am so grateful for the life that those words have led me too.
Having spent 20 years in the catering/pub trade I was a chronic alcoholic who had lost my wife, children, self respect and hope for the future, not able to function in the morning without first having a drink.
The programme was the most challenging thing I have ever faced and no two days were ever the same. Throughout the programme I was able to re-discover my abilities and was encouraged to put them to use by developing new roles in the community such as “house-keeper”, responsible for looking to reduce costs and waste at resident level. I was also honoured to be the chief coordinator at Croscombe when the ladies project opened there, in order to help the new ladies adjust to the structure.
I am now in the second year of a foundation degree in business and management, which I started whilst I was a resident and was encouraged to follow as part of the programme.
Paul arrived at Ovis Farm in October 2008. He was a violent alcoholic with a personality disorder. He says "the recovery programme at Ovis taught me about myself, helped me to identify my issues and then how to overcome them". During his stay at Ovis Pauls mum died of alcoholic liver disease. The staff at Ovis Farm supported me and with the help of God he overcame this difficult period.
If I wasn't at Ovis at this time I would have ended up dead. Ovis is a beautiful place and ideal to confront your demons and the teaching is second to none. I now live in the community and am married to Liz, we have a nice home and I'm hoping to go to college to study painting and decorating as a trade. I have learnt that all things are possible and I've learnt to love and respect people. Paul has been alcohol free for 3 years in October 2011.
Anson is now our Senior Therapeutic Community Practitioner having worked through our progamme.. He has personal experience of recovery from drug addiction which enables him to relate directly to our residents in their own recovery. Anson has a very thorough knowledge of the principles behind the George DeLeon method that we use. His main role is to ensure that the group work and community elements are delivered to a high standard.
I first learned about the House of Heroes whilst in prison, I knew that I couldn't carry on with the lifestyle I was then living. Jesus spoke to me in my prison cell and said he would open doors for me to change my life. I came to the Ovis Farm Project not knowing what to expect, the programme if used the right way can ,and will change you, I have had Jesus along side of me all the way through ,even when times have been really tough I have felt him with me. After living in a criminal lifestyle for forty years, to graduate programme is a bona fide miracle. I have a new life thanks to Jesus, and the House of Heroes