Never before has there been such a critical need for people to ask themselves ‘what can I do to make a difference?’ There are obviously a million and one good causes that each and every single one of us could justifiably support. But for Paul Lowe, the starting point is quite clear.
As The Third Sector Mentor, Paul makes a difference by helping others make a difference. He explains…
‘My pain began as an 8-year-old child way-back in 1968 when my mother re-married. That hopeful act brought into our home a man who subjected us to random acts of abuse, neglect, mental cruelty and ultimately terrible physical violence’, continuing ‘picture your life as a puzzle and as time passes, you fit more pieces together to complete the picture, like a jigsaw’.
As much as he vaguely remembers the first eight years of his life with pride and happiness – a nostalgic golden era of his passion for music and football – he’s equally polarised in his recollections of how his new step-father changed his life for the worse.
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Paul’s mother was a secret drinker and by the age of 12, he too was regularly helping himself to tots from her stashes of sherry and whisky – he quickly became addicted! His only salvation through this living hell was the belief that he would one day be playing professional football. But even that dream was facing a new challenge.
In March 1974 – after the realisation that the demon drink wasn’t numbing his physical, mental and emotional pain – he attempted suicide, aged 13½. But somehow, he had the faith to accept there was a reason for this ultimate test and he gradually gained awareness that his life had a real deep-rooted purpose.
However – to nullify the constant pain and suffering – he became immersed in a culture of addiction and violence. Paul adds…
‘This destructive cycle continued for decades until I finally had the awareness to understand my addiction was far deeper than the vice-like grip of the demon drink’, further adding ‘I had surrendered all my power and searched externally for my true purpose rather than looking within, where the answer will always be found’.
In England alone, there are more than 15,000 children with parents who have alcohol issues and almost 12,000 parents being treated for drugs problems. Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE described the figures as ‘shocking and very significant’, stating they were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.
In her 2017 report, Anne elaborates ‘when we read that there are nearly 50,000 children in gangs, you could be forgiven for thinking we were living in Dickensian England, not the 21st century’, asserting ‘yet they are amongst hundreds of thousands of children who are vulnerable or living in high-risk family situations’. ‘It’s so easy to imagine that those figures would go into the millions worldwide’, she suggests.
Paul reinforces ‘I can relate so strongly to this dark and disturbing existence. From being a victim, I became the victor – that’s why I’m committed and inspired to do the mentoring work I do. My hope is that people progress and then become social leaders in their own right’.
Putting this into a business context, Paul has a long and successful track-record of creating win-wins for all key stakeholders, as he explains ‘through the formation of the HEARTS brand, I set up various entities that would benefit individuals, businesses and communities alike, encapsulated within the HEARTS acronym and vision of Helping Everyone Achieve Results Towards Success’.
Having previously formed Sporting HEARTS in 2010 – set up by him to give a sporting chance in life to young people from predominantly disadvantaged communities – the charity went on to positively affect the lives of 3,000 youngsters, during its 6+ years operation, before being superseded by HEARTS Global CIC.
He has also supported adults – on a 1-2-1 basis – and guided them through challenges associated with the journey from pain to purpose, covering issues such as awareness, identity, self-esteem and confidence, to name but four vital considerations.
Business-wise – as a fully qualified ILM Level-5 Business Coach, Paul works with companies to create mutually-beneficial corporate social responsibility strategies, particularly specializing on the community element.