While having lunch with the team at the Reconnection Project last week, I met Derek who, until recently, would have described himself as a hermit.
Having had an active childhood, Derek McWilliams, 31, was hit by a car in 2001.
The accident shattered his leg and his confidence.
As a result of being unable to walk, he stayed indoors for many years which led to depression and severe anxiety, making it harder to leave his house.
Derek’s friend Robbie, who sadly passed away, was responsible for dragging him out of the house because he was so nervous.
Being a part of the Reconnection Project has enabled Derek to read.
Having started on books for three to seven-year-olds, he is currently reading The Tempest by Shakespeare.
He talked about the support he has had and showed me a beautifully-varnished bench he built while learning woodwork.
When I asked about the support he mentioned, Derek said: “Robbie brought me here, Tina helped me read, Ross helped write a Personal Independence Payment form and, when my leg is bad, Dave gives me a lift.”
In a colloquialism familiar only to those of us from Dundee, Derek put it perfectly: “It’s a’ aboot community an’ ha’in’ ither fowk aroon’ ye.”