Help for addicts may be a phone call away
GRIMSBY Food Kitchen provides a good meal for the drug and alcohol dependent and socially excluded people in Grimsby every week.
But more than that, organisers Cath and Ken Homewood offer support and love for the people that are often avoided by the rest of society, written off as the 'can't be' or 'won't be' helped.
Drug and alcohol dependency can be a difficult lifestyle for people to pull themselves out of – but it can be done.
Representatives from Christian rehabilitation centre Betel of Britain visited Open Door to speak to the people who visit the kitchen, people who they make it their life's work to help.
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Betel has a live-in rehabilitation centre in Nottingham that has helped people from Grimsby before, one of whom has kicked his habit and now works with the church in South Africa.
It also has a new centre with 30 beds opening in Grantham, which will become the nearest centre to our area.
The outreach workers from Betel are not clinicians or doctors. They are ex-addicts who have turned a corner and have devoted their second chance at life to giving others the same opportunity.
Wayne Wood, 45, talked to people at Grimsby Food Kitchen about his experiences and encouraged people to give change a try.
"I spent 21 years on heroin, crack, cannabis, party drugs – I did everything," he said.
"One day I fell out of my car with a needle in my arm and I knew I had to change. I went into the back office of a church and a man gave me a flyer for Betel.
"They found me a bed in the Birmingham branch and the next day I went cold turkey.
"That all happened in 1998 and 14 years later I have a girlfriend, two children who live with me and a job with Betel.
"I work with 20 to 30 guys at any one time and have a direct impact on their lives. Not everyone succeeds as you have to really want to change. However, if I have helped just one person in 14 years, it is all worthwhile."
Scott Netherton, 31, of Grimsby, talked to Wayne and decided that it was all the encouragement he needed to change.
"I know I need to change and have been thinking about it for a while," he said.
"I have four kids and don't want to continue like this.
"It's good to talk to someone like Wayne who has been through everything that I'm going through and come out the other side. It shows that it can be done.
"I'm fed up of this lifestyle and I need to get out of Grimsby for a while so I can leave it alone."
Tanya Weild, who oversees the female section of the Nottingham centre, said: "I spent 28 years on heroin, crack and alcohol but five years ago I went to Betel because I needed to change my life.
"I had tried to change numerous times but what was different this time was that I had the love of Jesus on my side.
"The difference between us and people in clinics is that our advice doesn't come from textbooks. We have been there and got the T-shirt.
"We understand exactly what they are going through because we went through it too. The fact that we have changed our lives gives them hope."
When Wayne and Tanya visited, they returned to Nottingham with drug addict Lisa Robinson, 24, of Hainton Avenue, who was willing to make the dramatic changes needed to turn her life around.
Lisa said: "Recently I have realised that the life I am living is not the life a 24-year-old girl should lead. I know that it's not going to be easy but I'm going to give Betel a try.
"I used to go to church but in recent years since I have been on drugs, I cannot call myself a Christian. The other day I spoke to someone I used to go to church with and it opened my eyes to the fact that I needed to change.
"Talking to Tanya has really helped me take on the challenge. It's hard but knowing that Betel has worked for her is encouraging."
Ken and Cath go to Betel's Nottingham centre on a regular basis.
Cath said: "We go down every three months and have sent a number of people we have had at the food kitchen there.
"For some, it doesn't work but we have had some real success stories too.
"Betel isn't about medical treatment, it's about love, and they provide a family for the people who go there, which is why it works."
If you know someone who may benefit from speaking to Betel, help could be just a telephone call away.
The person who needs help will need to phone personally and pass a brief telephone interview that proves they want to change. If successful, a bed can be found as quickly as the next day.
The number for the Nottingham branch of Betel is 01159 790290. If there is no room in Nottingham, they could find space at another branch, which includes Manchester and Derby.