Charlotte Ainslie

Charlotte Walks the Thames for Thames Reach

Fundraising for Thames Reach
raised of £2,330 target
by 268 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Charlotte Walks the Thames, 1 May 2023
Thames Reach

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RCN 1166311
We support homeless and vulnerable adults to escape the harmful cycle of homelessness


In short...

In April 2023, I will be walking the length of the River Thames from its source, in Gloustershire, to its mouth where it meets the North Sea, in Kent. 18 days, 233 miles (376 km), averaging over a half-marathon a day! To make this journey even more challenging, I'll be living off a budget of just £10 a day to cover all my food, accommodation and whatever else the river throws at me, until I reach the Thames Barrier on Day 14.

As I take on this adventure, I'll be raising money for Thames Reach, a charity supporting homeless and vulnerable people in London. I'm hoping to raise £10 for every mile I walk and I'm massively grateful for any donations to help me support their work.

Want to know more? Feel free to read on and follow my journey on Instagram @charlottewalksthethames

The Full Story

Why The Thames?

The Thames has always been home to me; 10 different houses in 6 different towns and cities and I've never lived more than a 15 minute walk from it's banks. Even my two schools and university buildings were within the same radius. Despite this, I've only ever experienced the river in isolated sections; Picnics in Port Meadow, drinks by Richmond riverside, or the never-ending slog to the entrance of Reading Festival. Because life by the river has always happened in these location-centric bursts, I've never fully appreciated the long and diverse journey the Thames takes through the South of England, or quite how much of my life has taken place alongside it. Many years ago, "Walking the Nile" by Levison Wood inspired me to plan a long journey on foot and, having decided 6650km through rural Africa wasn't for me, it seems fitting that I should journey along the length of the river that's not only played such a role in shaping our country, but my life too.

Why £10 a day?

I should probably cite reading "The Salt Path" by Raynor Winn as the final push for me to take on this walk and so I sort of wanted to pay homage to it in some way. The book tells the story of how Raynor and her husband became homeless after a financial dispute that ended with eviction and, with nowhere else to turn, decided to walk the South West Coastal Path. The stunning and moving book really highlighted to me how narrow society's perceptions and predudices on homelessness are and just how fast life can change for anyone. It was this book that made me want to do the walk for charity.

No limit on my spend will ever emulate what Raynor and Moth must have felt on that path, or what the over 8,000 people sleeping rough in London evey year go through. What it will do, is make this already slightly daunting challenging even tougher, and hopefully lead more donations and awareness along the way.

Why Thames Reach?

After reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, I felt inspired but also helpless. Whilst they had turned their situation into an incredible journey, what had happened to them just felt so unjust. As I said, it highlighted to me just how fast life can change for anyone and inspired me to do this walk for a charity supporting homelessness.

I wanted to find a charity whose work specifically touched areas I would be passing through on my walk and during my search, came across Thames Reach; a charity working with homeless and vulnerable people in London to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets.

I chose to support them as I could see they were making real impact in the city I live, and because of their 3-pronged approach to support - Response, Prevention & Recovery:

Response: Running numerous hostels and outreach services to help those sleeping rough to move off the streets

Prevention: Working to stop vulnerable people from becoming homeless

Recovery: Helping vulnerable and formerly homeless people get their lives back on track

With your support, we can enable Thames Reach on their mission to help people who are homeless or vulnerable to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives.

So, how will I do it?

The days will be long, averaging more than a half-marathon a day for two and a half weeks but as far as the walk goes, I'll be putting one foot in front of the other from Thames Head to the Isle of Grain. I'll be carrying everything I need on my back including my tent, clothes and cooking supplies. For accommodation, I'll be trying to sofa surf where possible and camping where I can't.

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. Charlotte Walks the Thames.

About the charity

Thames Reach

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1166311
Thames Reach Charity is a charity registered in England and Wales (number 1166311) and a company limited by guarantee (number 10098652) We specialise in helping people with complex and multiple needs and are committed to never giving up on anyone, no matter how chaotic or challenging they may be.

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