Kickstarting 14,000 lives

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CHRISTINE Tooze is an inspiration - there is no better word to describe her.

She has helped to save the lives of countless drug addicts, changing the fate of 14,000 people who have knocked on her door asking for help.

But she has her own distressing story to tell that, despite her work with drug and alcohol addicts, she has been unable to keep one of her children away from heroine addiction.

Many, if not most, people probably believe drug addicts come from poor, dysfunctional households, but her son Jon illustrates the case that drug addiction can befall anyone.

And if anyone can succumb to drug addiction, Christine’s charity Kickstart and similar ventures are a godsend to all of us.

Without the likes of Kickstart, thousands of people whose lives have been turned around may not have had the help they needed.

But it has not been an easy journey for Christine. Lack of funding, spending time in a rehab clinic to learn the ways of addicts and personal trauma have all helped to drive her on.

She has been given recognition for her work winning a national award from the Centre For Social Justice Awards this year.

But what she really needs is more funding, money that may help her to reach out and help do what she was unable to do for her own son and turn people’s lives around.

Use Post Offices or risk losing them

THE old saying use it or lose it is never more appropriate than with our Post Offices.

The Royal Mail underwent a wide-sweeping closure programme in 2008. And some Post Offices were saved when councils took local decisions to keep them open with funding of their own.

Now, two branches, at Nether Green and Ecclesall, are under threat when that funding runs out next year.

Unless people demonstrate their worth by using them, these Post Offices are likely to close and with them another key part of community life.

You have been warned.

Have a plan B

TOMORROW thousands of students will learn if all their hard work has paid off with the A-level results they have been hoping for.

But if all does not go according to plan, do not despair.

Universities, including our two at Sheffield, say they still have unfilled places. It may be that a change of course may fulfil your aspirations.