Recovery Project - Growing Lives : Darren tells sixth formers the secret of his success

Posted on: 13 Dec 2023

Growing Lives participant Darren Cox stepped in at the last minute to talk to sixth form students at The Ripley Academy when the person who was going to do the talk wasn’t able to attend.

Darren, who spoke last year, and received one of the boxes as he was living in Derventio housing, gave an update on how well he’d done to the students and staff who had arranged for the whole school to collect the festive treats. He is now working, and about to be trained as a deputy manager, and is about to move on from Derventio housing. He is back in touch with his family, and is living life to the full, going to see Rick Astley and his favourite football club, Notts County.

He spoke movingly of the impact of last year’s gifts. "You don't know how much it meant to me. It might only look like a packet of biscuits, but it was so great for me to sit down and dunk a biscuit in my tea. It gave me hope too – I thought, next year I could be doing that to help someone else."

Darren talked about his own tough times, and emphasised that there is always a way forward, however dark things may look. “Always talk to someone,” he said. He and Jackie Carpenter, assistant director strategy at Derventio, talked about alcohol and drug use, and mental wellbeing.

The boxes will all go to residents in Derventio housing for a Christmas treat. Everyone in a Derventio house in Derbyshire – and all their other housing across a dozen local authorities – will receive a hamper like the ones the Ripley Academy students put together, or a box from Colleague Box. This Christmas, no-one will be left out.

Follow the link for more information about Growing lives - Growing Lives - Derventio Housing Trust (

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