A SCHEME to help young people overcome drink and drug problems and lead them away from a life of crime is starting to deliver results.

Reformed criminal Jodie Hind used the lessons learnt from his personal experiences to set up the Stockton Recovery Group, with the intention of offering round-the-clock support to young people who are struggling with addiction.

The innovative scheme is supported by the Five Lamps charity and Stockton's Drug, Alcohol, Adult Commissioning Group.

The Recovery Group has a peer structure, where ex-addicts and offenders help those going through similar problems and issues.

By the age of 28, Mr Hind had accumulated 20 convictions for 87 offences.

Most of these were for theft and burglary, but he also had numerous driving offences and convictions for assault and arson.

He also spent much of his youth behind bars, while in 2001 a judge branded him responsible for a wild spree of offending.

However, since his release 12 months ago he has turned his life around and is determined to help others in similar circumstances to the ones he found himself in.

He said: "It is amazing when I see members of the group stand up and take ownership of their issues and life's problems and then make all necessary life-changing choices to overcome their shortfalls.

"It is the group's combined strength, experience and support that helps give them the hope they need to believe in themselves.

"I firmly believe this is a powerful tool within recovery and reform in our community and is bucking a regional and national trend that recovery is possible."

The group is open to anyone needing help and support to get them out of the spiral of drink or drug addiction.

One of the people taking advantage of the service, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We feel the problems we face in our recoveries and community can be shared openly and honestly with those going through similar issues and problems.

"In doing this we find the answers and solutions to our individual problems and most of all belief in ourselves that we can do it."

For more information on Stockton Recovery Group, contact Mr Hind on 01642-673828 or email jodiehind@ fivelamps.org.uk