Doncaster man bounces back from depression to start firm

Alan Robinson with RDaSH staff.
Alan Robinson with RDaSH staff.

A Doncaster man whose life fell apart while suffering from depression has bounced back and launched his own business.

Alan Robinson, 45, of Moorends, became ill around eight years ago with bi-polar disorder - but the condition went undiagnosed.

Because the condition went undetected and coupled with long hours at work and a young child to support, he soon became too ill to continue in his job.

His life started collapsing around him which included the breakdown of a long-term relationship.

But now Alan has turned his life around thanks to support from Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and social enterprise Flourish Enterprises.

He has just launched his own business as a mechanical, civil and domestic engineer.

He said: “I was initially admitted to one of RDaSH’s wards and received different therapy and medication in the community.

“It was a long hard slog for me but I soon felt well enough to carry out voluntary work of some kind.

“I did a vocational placement at the Walled Garden in Balby, Doncaster – a small garden centre which is part of Flourish.

“I’d never gardened before and I’d no interest in it either.

“However, the placement gave me something to get up for and it quickly became a very important part of my life.

“It was therapeutic, gave me a social life and kept me busy during the day meaning I would sleep at night.

“I was also out in the fresh air and made some really good friends.”

Alan quickly progressed, taking up a supervisory role at the garden centre, and took part in a Wellness To Work course where he received support and guidance in how to get back into work.

He added: “As I sat there on the course I realised I could actually set up my own business doing odd engineering jobs for people at their homes, I was also offered a job at a Rotherham fabrication shop for several hours a week.”

“So I took the step and did it and it’s going fantastic.

“My business, Alan Robinson Mechanical, Civil and Domestic Engineering, is going from strength to strength.

“I now want to tell others that they can do this too.”

Amanda Duffy, of Flourish Enterprises, who worked with Alan, said: “ Alan should be really proud of what he’s achieved. He’s done so well.”

Flourish Enterprises is a newly launched social enterprise supported by RDaSH.

It is made up of St Catherine’s House, a venue for events, conferencing and office rental, The Walled Garden, a small garden centre, and The Victorian Tea Room - all in Doncaster.

The scheme provides work and vocational opportunities to people who need support to get back into education or employment.

For further information about their projects and how to get involved, visit