How an ex-soldier whose life was falling apart did about-turn thanks to charity

A FORMER soldier has spoken of how a charity turned his life around after things fell apart when he was stopped from rejoining the Army following a medical discharge – culminating in a life on the streets.

Chris tried to join the forces when he left school at 16 but was told he was too young.

He enlisted later and served for a time but was forced to leave on medical grounds.

He mounted a third effort after being assured he could re-join, only to find out at the latest possible stage this was wrong and, struggling to cope with the rejection, his reaction was destructive and he ended up homeless.

"I was doing lots of booze and drugs and partying," the 21-year-old had said.

"I've been in a bad way for about a year now. I should have seen this coming."

Two months ago after breaking up with his live-in girlfriend in Wakefield he ended up becoming homeless. After nights on the streets he went to St George's Crypt shelter in Leeds, the city he grew up in.

The shelter had no spaces available so they put him in touch with Bradford Nightstop, a charity that offers emergency overnight accommodation in the home of a trained volunteer.

Chris stayed with Mollie Somerville, 63, who with her husband has been helping people for 15 years.

Last year Bradford Nightstop helped 170 young people with 505 requests for beds.

These 16- to 25-year-olds get referred to the charity by trained agencies and must answer a set of questions from a telephone contact person to confirm their suitability. The line is open every day of the week.

The charity is one that will benefit from donations made to the Yorkshire Post Communities in Need fundraising appeal. In partnership with Yorkshire Community Foundation, we will ensure that every penny received goes to schemes in our region to help them continue their work.

Three Easy ways you can donate

1. ONLINE

Log on to www.justgiving.com/communitiesinneed Secure donations can be made at the website using credit or debit cards.

2. SEND A CHEQUE

Make cheques payable to the LCF Communities In Need Appeal, and send to: Leeds Community Foundation, 51a St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2TE. When sending in cheques, donors must include their contact details to check if the donation is eligible for GiftAid.

3. PAY IN AT THE BANK

Simply walk into any branch of the Yorkshire Bank and make a donation to the LCF Communities in Need appeal. Quote the following details: Account No 11479437, Sort Code 05-00-20.