Getting Clean Project: Meet the recovering addicts who are on a mission to spruce up Leeds communities

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A group of recovering addicts in Leeds have been on a mission to make people smile, as they lend a helping hand in the community.

Volunteers from the Getting Clean Project were posted out to Hunslet last weekend.

They fixed fences, picked litter and cut back hedges in a bid to clean up the area.

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The Getting Clean Project works with recovering addicts, helping them gain vital skills while giving back to the community.

Chris Sylvester, right, set up the project last year (Photo: Mars Ricco)Chris Sylvester, right, set up the project last year (Photo: Mars Ricco)
Chris Sylvester, right, set up the project last year (Photo: Mars Ricco)

The project was founded last year by Chris Sylvester, who has been in recovery himself for five years.

Chris said: "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.”

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Chris joined 14 volunteers during the clean up day in Hunslet, alongside local councillor Ed Carlisle.

Volunteers from the Getting Clean Project fixed fences, picked litter and trimmed shrubs in Hunslet (Photo: Mars Ricco)Volunteers from the Getting Clean Project fixed fences, picked litter and trimmed shrubs in Hunslet (Photo: Mars Ricco)
Volunteers from the Getting Clean Project fixed fences, picked litter and trimmed shrubs in Hunslet (Photo: Mars Ricco)

They made repairs to and around three properties, helping to fix issues that had been blighting neighbours – using materials donated by Nationwide Safety Management.

Laura Tranmer, 44, said her fence had been in a dilapidated state “for years” and she was concerned that it could injure passing children.

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

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Christina and Victor Sanderson’s fence was destroyed when storms hit in February this year.

The retired couple have their great-grandson living with them and two dogs who need a secure garden.

Victor, 70, 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, 71, added: “We’re very pleased with the job done”.

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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".

The Getting Clean Project organises regular volunteer days.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or needs help with addiction, or residents who want the volunteers to come to their streets, can get in touch with Chris via the project’s Facebook page.