It’s a decade since I founded Breathe Arts Health Research, and both the journey to get to there and the decade since have been tumultuous. In all honesty, it is not wisdom and insight that got me there, it was blissful naivety, the belief that anything is possible and a heap of resilience and hard work.
While I was studying, I worked as a therapy assistant supporting an autistic boy. I followed set therapeutic guidelines but found that it was through creativity and the arts that he engaged most.
It sparked in me a deep passion to build a career in this space. As part of my Theatre Studies degree, I went on to specialise in the use of Shakespeare in prisons and psychiatric units.
Freelancing in TV
My first job after university was answering helpline calls from viewers of This Morning. Although an unconventional foot into the world of TV, I spent the next three years moving from one freelance role to another at ITV and the BBC.
In TV, unless you’re the very best and willing to work harder than the next person, you simply don’t get the job. It instilled a work ethic that has stayed with me.
But I was craving a job that used the arts to make a difference on a societal level, so I applied for a role at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity as Performing Arts Coordinator. I distinctly remember walking out of the interview feeling worried that I had been too myself. The passion and excitement had been spilling out of me. But I got the job, which was a major turning point in my career.