Eight years ago, Southsea resident Becki Simmons needed emergency brain surgery after years of suffering with excruciating headaches.
Aged just 42, this turned Becki’s life upside down and a long recovery followed, during which Becki relearned many skills.
Becki, now 49, was unable to return to her job as a company secretary in the travel industry, and was nervous to start volunteering in a charity shop.
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Mum-of-two Becki said: ‘I went from working and loving my job to having emergency brain surgery.
‘When you suddenly have an illness and a diagnosis, your world turns upside down.
‘It’s been a very long process but I’m there. I’m Becki, I’m still the same, I’m just a little bit different.’
Now hoping to help others begin to ‘spark into life’, Becki has set up a new charity called Spark Community Space to help people who feel like they don’t fit in to gain confidence.
The idea is to set up a charity shop with a coffee and cake area, which would be open to anyone who was looking to rediscover their value and self worth to take part in volunteering and training opportunities.
Becki, who registered the charity in October after a successful pilot scheme, said: ‘I want to build a space for people who don’t have a good support system to come and learn to fly again.
‘I don’t care what race, religion, background or what you think you can’t do, I will find you something that you can do.
‘We work to the pace of the slowest person so people feel included.’
The next step will be to find a shop space or unit to set up the first Spark Community Space, and Becki is currently raising funds for the first premises.
If any business or unit owner has premises which might be available to the charity, visit the website to contact Becki.
Becki has been hosting virtual coffee mornings on Mondays for people who might be feeling isolated.