I am going to finally realise my dream of running the London Marathon in 2019. I'm so excited! I'm going to go through pain, so much pain, both on the day and in the months of training in the dark through the winter months.. but it will be so worth it!
This is a first in a lifetime thing for me and I want to make it count. To do so I wanted to use this as an opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile, local cause. And that's where the team at YMCA Bedfordshire come in. I came to know them through my work as a trustee of another local charity in my home town of Bedford. Through this I have come to understand more about the challenges that a number of people in my local area face:
In 2017 there was a 15% growth in people sleeping rough (outdoors) in England.
At the same time in my local area of Bedford this figure grew by 29% (from 59 people per 1,000 households in 2016 to 76 people per 1,000 households in 2017).
This makes Bedford joint 8th in England. Nearby Luton was 5th with a 14% increase to 87 people per 1,000 households.
YMCA Bedfordshire has the capacity to house 220 people for up to 2 years in 7 properties across the county (with 4 of those being in Bedford). Current residents include 22 women and their children fleeing domestic abuse. In addition to housing they support children and young people aged 5-16 through a series of after school and holiday clubs.
In preparation for this I have had the opportunity to spend time together with Paul & the team at YMCA and learned first hand the difference that they make. They took the time to show me around their properties and talk about the good work they do and their vision to do even more. If you would like to see some examples have a look here: http://www.ymcabedfordshire.org.uk/case-studies/
As I hit the wall on April 28th, somewhere on the streets of London, the knowledge that every step, every mile is enabling that vision, and bringing real value to the people of Bedford will keep me pushing and will power me to the finish line (even if I have to crawl over!)
Give Big, Give Small, but please give (and give big!) to help me to help YMCA Bedfordshire to help the people of Bedford. To encourage you to donate more I am offering to match every donation pound for pound.. (up to £1,000). So literally every pound you give causes me the pain of running and hits me in my wallet - Double Benefit!!
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.