Melissa’s story

A healthy population isn’t made up of people who are your patients or project beneficiaries. It’s populated by people who are co-workers and co-creators of healthy places.
Melissa in the community
Melissa (left) is building something special. Credit: Mel Smith

Melissa had to give up work as a teacher when she was diagnosed with a rare spinal condition in her late thirties. She lost her main source of friendships and connection and instead became “stuck on the sofa” (her words) waiting for the next appointment, consultation or surgery. Her thoughts revolved around what she had lost and what she couldn’t do any more.

Grapevine came along and in February 2018 she started building the Feel Good Community – now an 800-strong group of people creating activities that help them stay well and it’s also a burgeoning social business.

Those 800 were not gathered by us but by someone with a chronic health condition. We just helped her know how to build a movement and keep it growing using the tools of community organising. She’s now employed to do the same with and for others.

Life is still a waiting game, only this time Melissa waits to see the fruits of her efforts in her own enterprise and in the communities built by people she is working with.

Melissa at a Walk and Talk

Join in

Connecting for Good Cov is sparking movements against social isolation in Coventry. Follow Grapevine on Facebook to learn more, see videos and photos of the journey on Instagram @connectingforgoodcov, or email Melissa direct at

If you have a long-term health condition or chronic illness and/or skills to share, get in touch through Melissa’s website.