Recovering addicts volunteer to mend fences

This weekend (17-18 September 2022) volunteers from the Getting Clean Project (GCP) came together to help with improvements to garden fences and the communal areas around three properties in Hunslet.

The work undertaken included; making fences safe and secure, fixing gates, cutting back vegetation and a litter pick of the wider area. Over the two days, 14 GCP volunteers were on site, along with GCP founder Chris Sylvester, Cllr Ed Carlisle (Green, Hunslet & Riverside) and Anthony Stanhope from the Hunslet Tenants & Residents Association.

The Getting Clean Project works with recovering addicts, with an emphasis on giving back to the community.  Volunteers provided all tools and manpower and were able to share existing skills whilst learning new ones and benefiting from being involved in helping the community.  Posts, timber and concrete were donated by Richard Roberts from Nationwide Safety Management.

Resident Laura Tranmer (44), said her fence had been in a dilapidated state “for years” and had concerns about injury to passing children, as well as home security.

“The lads have done a really good job, I really appreciate what they’ve done”, said Laura.

Christina and Victor Sanderson’s fence was destroyed when storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin combined in February 2022. Christina (71), a retired home care worker and Victor (70), a retired truck driver, have their great-grandson living with them and two dogs who need a secure garden. Victor said;

“It means a lot to have this work done, we’d been worried about the little one and about the dogs – the main road is very close to us”. Christina added; “we’re very pleased with the job done”.

Pharmacy worker and mum of two, Claire McNiven (29) said her father, who is in a wheelchair, had previously tried to repair her fence and gate but wasn’t able to complete the job.

“It was weather-beaten and kids have been climbing on it.  I’ve been worried about kids getting caught on the nails sticking out of it”.

GCP installed new posts and reattached the gate, as well as doing a general safety-check.

“I can let my four-year-old play in the garden with no worry now”, said Claire.

Volunteer Craig Hughes said:

“I was in active addiction for years but being able to volunteer in this way and provide a service for people helps me stay clean. I’m grateful to be able to learn new skills and for the opportunity to help others.”

Cllr Ed Carlisle, a keen advocate for the GCP, said:

“We face no shortage of challenges and needs in our communities – but equally, there are people with skills and resources everywhere, who want to make a difference. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be working with the fantastic Getting Clean team, it’s inspiring to see them stepping up, playing their part, and helping others – and I look forward to making more good things happen with them in the coming years.”

GCP founder, Chris Sylvester has been in recovery for five years and set up the project in 2021.

“After many years of being trapped in addiction I saw an opportunity to help people who are struggling to overcome their addictions by helping them access mutual aid and find purpose whilst rebuilding their lives. We aim to change the perception of addiction and to help communities by giving back.”

The Getting Clean Project organise regular volunteer days. If you feel that you would benefit from volunteering, need help with addiction or  If you have an area in your local community which would benefit from an uplift, you can contact Chris Sylvester through Facebook, Twitter, or Instgram.

Cllr Ed Carlise, Victor Sanderson, Christina Sanderson, Chris Sylvester, Richard Roberts, Anthony Stanhope standing in front of the Sanderson’s newly-repaired fence.

This post is based on a press release issued by Getting Clean Project

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