Stuart Cummings had a rough start in life followed by a traumatic incident which left him struggling, unstable and angry. Through Street Fit Scotland he has learned new coping mechanisms which has in turn enabled him to turn his life around. He was named one of our first Street Fit Peer Champions in 2019 in recognition of his success. Peer Champions use their lived experience to encourage others taking part in our activities. Currently these roles are voluntary, but with the right funding opportunities we would love to make these paid employment. Read Stuart’s story below.
“My name is Stuart, I am 30 years old and I’ve been participating in street fit Scotland nearly 3 years now. Time flies when you’re having fun, something I haven’t had a lot of.
I was homeless as a child and lived an unsettled life as my mum is quite vulnerable and unfortunately she got involved with abusive men, when I was 6 years old at Christmas time one of the guys she was seeing attacked my mum and I had to intervene. He left her on the floor and she couldn’t breathe, so I ran to the neighbour to get help. My mum survived but it still plays over in my head.
I was given a new opportunity to live and work in Canada, as my Dad lives there, and for seven years I worked in construction and as a ski instructor. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse when I returned home to attend the funeral of a childhood friend. I never made it to the funeral as I didn’t feel I could cope with it. So I went to his sister’s house to explain why I didn’t make it – there was alcohol involved and people who I didn’t know in her flat. To cut a long and traumatic experience short – I was severely attacked at this house and left to die, leaving me with an acquired brain injury I have now had for nearly 5 years.
This injury and my previous experience left me very angry. I genuinely did not want to be here as I thought I did not have a reason to live! Street Fit Scotland helped me to turn my life completely around.
I went along to one class got hooked and I am standing here nearly three years later with lots of motivation, confidence and a calmer outlook on life, I am now eating better, sleeping better and feeling better about life, because Street Fit Scotland gives me purpose and structure and reasons to live.
Not only does it help me, but allows me to help others…I get a lot back from that and it makes me feel happy. Right now though I spend my days as one of the Street Fit Scotland Champions. I am one of the first people to be given this title and responsibility; this will involve me supporting the fitness coaches, participants and anyone who needs it. I will be helping set up the area at the meadows making sure people are hydrated and that when I collect the plastic bottles at the end of a session we will recycle the bottles, I love being kind to other people now because I know what it feels like when people are bad to you.
Before Street Fit Scotland I was a really angry young man who turned to drink as a comfort. I have reduced the drinking massively; I am living my best life now and still have aspirations for my future, I am going to keep trying to be the best the version of me and I am definitely fitter, healthier, and mentally stronger.