Just six months ago Matt Bingham was at rock bottom. Told he no longer had a job just days before Christmas he turned to anti depressants to get him through the festive season.
But only half a year later he has bounced back in style and is now running a successful photography experience business selling packages through some of the UK’s biggest retailers.
It’s quite a turnaround for the ex-charity project manager who freely admits to being devastated when he was made redundant just two weeks before Christmas last year.
The 38 year old was told his position was no longer viable after the charity, Nottinghamshire based Hucknall and District Voluntary Sector Partnership, lost valuable Lotto funding.
Matt, who had spent eight years building the project up from its launch, said: “It was a terrible time. For about three or four months I was on anti-depressants. I was as low as I have ever been.
“It was the combination of money worries and also leaving behind what I had poured my heart and soul into for eight years. I found it difficult to move on.
“But my partner Deborah and I still had a mortgage to pay so I had to dust myself down and get back out there and find another job.”
But Matt found the job market was fairly grim when he did start looking for his next role.
He said: “I applied for lots of things but there was just nothing doing. Everything I went for I hit a brick wall. In the end I was ready to take anything, labouring, factory work, anything I could get to pay the mortgage and keep a roof over our heads.”
Around that time he bumped into an old friend called Lee Bown and Matt’s life took an unexpected turn.
He said: “I’d known Lee years and years ago when we worked together in a furniture factory. I knew he had moved on in his life and had started up businesses and been successful.”
The two friends met up for coffee and Matt told Lee of his desperate search for work after redundancy.
Matt said: “Lee asked me what it was I really wanted to do. I’ve been a keen photographer for more than ten years and when Lee asked what I’d really love to do I said, ‘Photography’.
“I had a dream of making a living with my camera but it wasn’t until Lee sat me down and really made me think about what I wanted to do that the dream started to become a reality.”
Matt and Lee joined forces to launch Red Cloud Photography Days Ltd – a company utilising both Matt’s passion for photography with Lee’s business acumen.
The business offers short courses in digital SLR photography and experience packages such as surf photography breaks out of centres in London, Nottingham and Cornwall.
Matt and Lee have recruited a team of 12 photography instructors and have done deals with Lastminute.com, Activity Superstore and Virgin Experience Days to sell their packages which can also be booked on their website www.RedCloudDays.co.uk .
For Matt the past six months have seen a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes which he is still coming to terms with.
He said: “My partner Deborah says I’m almost a different man from the guy who hit rock bottom just half a year ago after redundancy. It really is amazing the difference six months can make.
“At the beginning of this year I was really low and I couldn’t see the way forward. Now I’m absolutely buzzing, hiring a great team, putting together fantastic experience packages and doing some big deals with retailers.
“This is definitely the most exciting time of my life and it would be fair to say that redundancy, for me at least, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
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