Ex-offender turned soldier asks for donations to reach goal of supporting youngsters

Ricky Gleeson hopes to provide support to young ex-offenders and people at risk of offending through his company, HoodEx CIC.

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Ricky Gleeson, who set up a market stall in South Shields to help young ex-offenders and people at risk of offending, is close to opening an official store.

Ricky founded HoodEx CIC, which sells quality vintage clothing at affordable prices, to help fund support and provide training to young people who need it.

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The armed forces member, who is an armed guard in the British Army, is determined to help youngsters at risk of offending after his own experiences as a teenager, which led to him offending, facing homelessness, and relying on drugs and alcohol.

However, Ricky turned his life around and is now hoping to provide youngsters with the support they need, something that wasn’t available to him when he needed it.

Since opening the market stall, Ricky has been fundraising in the hopes of opening a shop, in order to sell more stock, give volunteering opportunities to young offenders and have the funds to provide further support.

In July of this year, Ricky organised a sponsored walk to further raise money for the shop, and now, he is close to his monetary goal.

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Ricky said: “I’m nearly there! From that market stall, I’ve nearly got there. I can’t say the location officially until we sign the lease this week but I’ve got a uni rent free for the first year.

“I have a vintage clothing supplier who is giving us a £500 credit line to get started, and I have been given all of the shop fitting for free from Eldon Square, as well as a till system donated by an individual.”

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HoodEX CIC fundraised £900 to pay for the deposit and already have the first two volunteers who will help run the shop.

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Ricky is looking to employ young ex-offenders or people at risk of offending as volunteers as in exchange for volunteering the individuals will receive physical training sessions with fully licensed PTI’s, wellness sessions, driving courses, help with obtaining ID such as passports, healthy food, travel expenses and further bespoke support designed to get them into full-time paid employment.

HoodEx CIC hopes to raise a target of £1,000 and have set up a GoFundMe page, which has currently received £405 from 21 donations.

Ricky Gleeson founded HoodEx CIC to support young ex-offenders and people at risk of offending.Ricky Gleeson founded HoodEx CIC to support young ex-offenders and people at risk of offending.
Ricky Gleeson founded HoodEx CIC to support young ex-offenders and people at risk of offending.

Despite the support in opening the shop, HoodEx are still hoping to reach their goal, with Ricky writing on the fundraising page: “So here’s my fundraiser and I’m at the stage where every single pound donated makes a difference.”

Ricky told the Shields Gazette: “By getting the shop, this will help keep young people out of harm’s way, living a healthy life, and make the town centre a better place whilst providing top quality vintage clothing at great prices.”