If you follow me on any of the social networks you will know that I regularly undertake running and cycling challenges to raise funds to help homeless people.
I am running another fundraising half marathon on the 9th of September when, along with my brother Mark, I will run the Great North Run. For this run we are looking for sponsors for Shelter. I make no excuse for asking you to donate again because as long as there are people without a home there’s a need to raise funds. I know many of my friends, contacts and former work colleagues gave generously when I ran the Great North Run last year. I’m asking again because there are still people homeless. Shelter’s tag line, printed on the back of my running shirt, says “Until there’s a home for everyone” and the last time I looked not everyone yet has a home.
But I don’t just run. Eight years ago I was one of the founders of a charity in York called Restore. It houses people who, without support, would inevitably be homeless. Today I am that charity’s chairman. We employ 6 staff, run 8 houses and provide supported accommodation for up to 30 people.
Three years ago I became the chair of the York Homeless Forum. Hosted by the City of York Council it brings together a wide range of providers in the city; statutory, independent, voluntary and charity providers. This group helped produce the city’s five year strategy for preventing homelessness. You can read it here, including my forward
I am now supporting the formation of a team of volunteers to staff a new overnight service for people sleeping rough on winter nights. It will provide a bed, showers and food on the coldest nights this winter. YES Below Zero is a joint venture between churches, voluntary groups and the council.
So while I often run or cycle to raise funds for these projects and more, I’m directly involved in solving homelessness, not least for those who still remain with nowhere to live. Most of those people are hidden. For each of the people you may see sleeping rough around cities and towns there are many more, sofa surfing, in overcrowded and unfit houses and flats, in temporary hostels or even camping illegally on someone’s land.
So I unashamedly ask. Will you sponsor me and my brother as we run the Great North Run this September for Shelter – one of the national charities researching, campaigning and offering advice to end homelessness. Together we must fight the injustice of homelessness. In one of the richest countries in the world people have nowhere to call home. It’s not right is it. So please be generous – donate here