Where Big Tees Sleepout funds go

June 22nd, 2018

Ever wonder where the money goes that’s raised through The Big Teesside Sleepout events?

Read Russell’s story…

“I started smoking cannabis at the age of 8. I’ve been addicted to heroin for most of my life since I was 15. I’ve been homeless for 12 months.”

Those are the words of #Middlesbrough resident Russell.

Words that can’t fail to shock any right-thinking human.

But, with the support of a special charity that Teesside Philanthropic Foundation is supporting, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Russell and others like him.

The Foundation donated £3,000 for the Breakfast Club at Neighbourhood Welfare’s homeless café on Princes Road, Middlesbrough.

The cash came from funds raised at our latest Big Tees Sleepout – so the Foundation’s Jenny Williams was accompanied on a visit to the café by SABIC employee Phillip Genery, who has been a regular supporter of our sleepout events, and Isabel Surridge of our patrons Cool Blue Brand Communications, who took part in our latest sleepout with several colleagues.

The donation helped to fit out a new kitchen where every morning big-hearted volunteers prepare breakfast for an ever-growing group of homeless locals.

Our pictures show Jenny, Phil and Isabel with Neighbourhood Welfare’s driving force Susan – together with one of those this wonderful charity exists to support, Russell.

This is Russell’s story…

“If it wasn’t for this place I would never get fed. In fact, I don’t know what I’d do.

“I’ve got drug issues. I’ve had drug problems since I was 8, when I first started smoking cannabis. I’m 36 now and I’ve pretty much been addicted to heroin since I was 15.

“Once that stuff gets hold of you, you’re in trouble.

“I became street homeless about a year ago when I split up with my wife. The house was in her name so I was on the street.

“It was a frightening time. At one stage I was sleeping in a derelict car park.

“I was living in a hostel for a while but that didn’t’ work out, so I ended up back on the streets. Other times I was sofa surfing – sleeping on the settees of anyone who’d let me stay.

“If it wasn’t for this place I don’t know what I’d do because I can’t afford to feed myself.

“The staff – (pictured) – are fantastic. They’re all volunteers and they do just genuinely care.

“It’s somewhere I can come and have a meal but also feel safe. I feel like I’m home when I’m here.

“I’ll sign in, get a coffee, sit down and they bring me a meal.

“Other homeless lads come here. We’ve all got different stories. But we all agree it’s good to know that we’ll get one decent meal a day because of this place.

“I’m trying to get my drug issues sorted out and I’ve been clean off heroin for two months now.

“And I’ve got temporary accommodation where I can stay until I find myself somewhere more permanent.

“I hope things are looking up for me.”

We’re passionate about helping Teessiders like Russell. One of the best ways we do that is through the Big Tees Sleepout.

Find out more and sign up for our next event here: http://www.bigteessidesleepout.co.uk/


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