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Vitality Homes’ resident Sam Batley writes film with award-winning maker Paul Chambers

Vitality Homes’ resident Sam Batley uses his recovery to redefine his passion for all things creative including writing, photography and poetry. 

Sam, a long-standing resident of DJK House, has used the pandemic to accelerate his passion for creativity after previously flitting in and out of writing and photography, calling his production of material “sporadic” due to his addiction.

Sam said: “I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to where I wanted to be with it if I continued doing what I was doing.”

But his commitment to Vitality Homes’ powerful recovery programme has allowed Sam to prosper and flourish within the creative community. Over the last year, he’s delivered live readings of his poetry at La Violette Società as well as being part of a joint photography exhibition at Love Wavertree Community Hub.

Vitality Homes' resident Sam Batley writes film with award-winning maker Paul Chambers

More recently, Sam has turned his attention to film-writing, creating a short film named Three Bull-Mastiffs in a Corner Kitchen with award-winning filmmaker Paul Chambers. Airing in July/August 2021, Sam offers a compelling insight into his life, and navigating his way as a young man struggling with addiction in his home of South Yorkshire.

Having relocated to Liverpool when he joined DJK House in September 2019, just four days prior he had visited the woods to take his own life, wanting to hang himself during the height of his addiction. And just 16 months on, Sam has created an entire script based on his personal experiences, with the title coming from the first line of a poem he wrote whilst in recovery at Vitality Homes.

Sam explained:

“As I was getting into recovery, I was starting to get some clarity over my past, pieces started to fit together and I started seeing my past as what it was, and not what I thought it was. I was becoming more aware of the feelings attached to the past. The whole thing was about revisiting that part of myself and seeing it for what it was.”

The title depicts what it was like for Sam to be picking drugs up from his dealer; with three Bull-Mastiffs that were used to go badger baiting. The dogs set the tone for Sam’s visits as they were the first thing he’d see and are a stark reminder of the depths of his addiction. They play a vital role in the film, creating an ominous feeling.

Three Bull-Mastiffs in a Corner Kitchen used actors and people in recovery to bring Sam’s story to life and depict his experience with addiction in the most authentic and profound way possible. 

As a spinoff from the film, Sam and Paul have also been working on a crowd-funded documentary follow-up that focuses on recovery, with Sam adding that the short film and the documentary dubbed “One Day At A Time” come “full-circle”.

Vitality Homes' resident Sam Batley writes film with award-winning maker Paul Chambers

“We’re appealing to anyone who can help with the post-production of Three Bull-Mastiffs in a Corner Kitchen so that we can tell the stories of the men and women in the film and how they’re no longer shackled to the chains of addiction but working on their prosperous recovery, and how they’ve gone on to live meaningful, fulfilling lives with integrity and honesty, one day at a time.”

Kate Stewart, founder of Vitality Homes, said: “Myself and the Vitality Homes team are incredibly proud of Sam and everything that he has achieved since embarking on his recovery journey with us. The programme has been designed to provoke thoughts, ideas and new experiences and Sam has seized the opportunity to learn and flourish at DJK House. It’s amazing that a wider audience will be able to watch and understand his personal experience with addiction and see first hand that he’s turned his life around.”

Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, Vitality Homes’ Head of Services, added: “This is such an exciting time at Vitality Homes and specifically, Damien John Kelly House. Seeing Sam work so hard on his recovery and on making this film in such an inclusive way, he has become the epitome of what we stand for here; freedom and community through arts, sports and culture.”

Those who want to get involved with Three Bull-mastiffs in a Corner Kitchen or would like to donate can visit www.paulchambersfilms.com/threebullmastiffs for more information.

READ MORE: Award-winning Merseyside author launches fundraising campaign for new Builder Book project

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