Streetsmart: Dishing up support for teen addicts

Geoff Bryant runs Teen Challenge Leeds.

Geoff Bryant runs Teen Challenge Leeds.

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Six nights a week an army of volunteers takes to the streets in a bid to change lives.

And with temperatures plummeting, it has never been more important for Teen Challenge Leeds to get its message across.

The charity gives young people support to get off drugs and alcohol, and escape a life of crime.

Last year it enrolled 19 onto a training and detox programme aimed at changing their future.

The key is a mobile tearoom that ventures weekly into Chapeltown and Holbeck, Castleford, Knottingley and Wakefield, as well as parts of Bradford.

Now you can help by supporting the YEP-backed Streetsmart campaign, which raises funds for Leeds-based charities helping the homeless and people at risk of finding themselves without a place to sleep.

Last year, Teen Challenge Leeds received £4,000 from the scheme that asks customers dining out in participating restaurants during November and December to add £1 to the bill.

Brian Hendlesby, chief operations officer, said: “That support was vital to us in delivering the outreach programme.”

For the last four years volunteer Geoff Bryant has been running the programme at Chapeltown Road, which operates every Wednesday.

Geoff is a former drug dealer, has spent four stints behind bars and says his experiences have helped him relate to the people he meets.

The 42-year-old, who is now married and working as an electrician, said: “People know me, that I have changed for the better. I was making £10,000 a week shifting kilos of crack-cocaine and heroine.

“I might earn less now but it lasts longer than it did before.”

Taking part in StreetSmart Leeds 2011 are: Salvo’s and Salvo’s Salumeria in Headingley, the Olive Tree at Rodley, Chapel Allerton and Far Headingley; Diva Italiana, Deeva and La Rosa in Pudsey; Create, Chino Latino and Fourth Floor Cafe at Harvey Nichols in the city centre.

This year all proceeds will be split between Leeds charities Teen Challenge, St George’s Crypt, Simon on the Streets, Caring for Life and Create.

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