The top end of this article is about bringing you back to the Charity I have been doing this for, and then there is all the stuff about running and my donation page – so read on, thank you. Oh one last thing, within these ramblings are a number of links to all manner of other pages and interesting stuff – go on give them a click 🙂
In all that has gone on since 2016, when I began fundraising for local homeless and housing charity Launchpad, it is easy to forget where the initial drive came from and importantly what great work they do. Their work does not just take people off the street but looks after those that struggle with general housing issues – for a vast number of reasons.
In the time I have been on this (sometimes personally painful journey) it is worth reflecting on some of the good work they have undertaken on behalf of those less fortunate or able than us, and providing services to those that (and lets be honest) we hope never to become.
I recently met with Katy Heppolette and Sophie Stokes on a visit to the Launchpad office in Reading where we discussed new projects and initiatives they have undertaken. In addition they gave me an insight and anecdotal feedback about just how much this has helped. Some of what they do may seem trivial to you and me, such as providing a removal day assistant, but when it was played back to me about just how this helped it made perfect sense; it also acted as a timely reminder about how the money I have raised has in some small way gone to provide such assistance.
In the short time I spent with them last week I got the real feeling of just how much this means to them and their colleagues. I can honestly say that for those who find themselves in a tough position this fantastic charity really does provide a much needed shoulder and social support when really needed, and I hope that I am able to complete my promise to them of raising the £2000.
So here goes the important stuff (in their words not mine) which I really hope you find just 15 minutes of your day to read – as you sup your coffee at the desk in between tedious meetings or yet another email, or standing on the platform waiting for your train which will invariably be late or that you actually take time out of your own day to sit and read some of the great stuff they continue to do.
100 beds in Reading
Launchpad can house 100 people in properties and houses that they lease long-term across Reading, available to people who have a history of homelessness, are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless and need support Working Towards Independence.
For their clients, housing with support is a lifeline. The day they move in can be a turning point. Once a client has a steady home, it’s easier to provide regular, effective and preventative support for mental health, alcohol and substance misuse issues. Stable accommodation also helps break the cycle of reoffending. And their support helps tackle deep-rooted issues that have prevented clients from moving forward in life. Last year they housed and supported 206 individuals.
Some clients need professional support to overcome alcohol and drug misuse, or have a lack of numeracy, literacy and IT skills – essentials for people aiming to work and look after themselves.
Last year their Education, Training and Employment service supported 267 people. 25 of whom attended certified external education/training gaining qualifications and 17 people secured a job.
Not all the people they support need the same help, some already have a University degree and some leave them to go to University.
People don’t need to stay in their housing with support indefinitely, for longer than they need. Ideally within twelve months they will gained the skills and knowledge to live independently and without support.
Launchpad also provide houses for five people with their Move-on homes, with another five currently being built. The people that live in their move on homes have no immediate support needs but will probably have been supported by Launchpad. Move-on housing provides a bridge between housing people with support and completely living independently. By living in good quality housing People are less likely to become homeless again as there is a safety net of a support network and access to advice. When the time is right they will be encouraged and supported to move on to be totally independent to allow someone else to move in to move-on.
They help clients move on whether it’s into our long term accommodation or into their own privately rented accommodation. Support includes help with setting up bills and advice for sustaining a tenancy.
Permanent rented accommodation is limited in Reading and they hope to be able to house more people with more long term housing in the coming years. They are currently undertaking a first building project and building five more Move-on homes in Reading due to be built and ready to move in to February 2019.
My Charity Appeal – Please use the link below to make donations via Just Giving
Thanks to all of you that have helped get donations over £1500, your support is wonderful.
What next for me?
On the 6th October my wife and I, and a whole heap of others are travelling to Ireland to take part in the Run Galway event, myself the half marathon and Carla taking the start line for her first ever 10K. Both of us have had injury set backs on the road to preparation but that won’t stop us from enjoying what is promised to be a flat run, with the weather promising to be kind to us as well. So wish us luck and please dig a little deeper one more time to help me settle my promise to Launchpad.
Here is an interesting fact – if everyone I know in my company, those who say they are a friend on Facebook and Instagram etc, friends who don’t do social but are email or phone contacts, business acquaintances and family were all to sponsor me £1 each that would top things up by about £1000, so I am hoping that in reading this I can attract you to being one off those. Of course if you are new to this blog, never beard of me and stumbled over this accidentally then why not make a new friend today and drop a pound, dollar or Euro in the pot in the knowledge that you will be helping a fantastic charity, and some less fortunate souls.
The rest of my story
I began my challenge in 2016 and if you are not familiar with that little fact then please follow the link to the kick off story – How it started, where it goes next and if still interested after that you will find all my updates covered off in there – the highs and the lows.
In brief – I aimed to complete 10 half marathons and three 10K runs in 2016. This was curtailed when I came down with a chest infection that kept me out for 10 weeks in the early part of the year and then in September (during the Maidenhead half which I did finish) I ran into problems with my right foot that kept me from completing the last of my planned runs.
2017 and I was very (too) cautious about running distance in case of injury again, so I ended up with just the Wargrave 10k and a number of cancelled run entries. That said I did get in to Park Run towards the end of 2017 to try and get me back on the road.
2018 and after just 2 short runs I now hit problems with my right knee, this led to physiotherapy rest and strengthening exercises for a few weeks. Finally back and running I entered the Wargrave 10K and have now been a regular attendee of Park Run in Reading. That brings us up to date and my commitment to run the Galway Half in a few days from now.
2019 – Injury free and may miles under the belt, well that’s the plan.
So that’s it for the update, and the plan, but for more detail about my adventure and Launchpad you can go to the main menu of my blog and read all the news there,. Whilst there please sign up now for updates as and when they happen, oh and pass on the good news about the charity to friends and family for me.
Thanks for reading and hopefully donating.
Interestingly World Homeless Day is the 10th October!
Once more – this is my Just Giving page for your wonderful generosity – JUST GIVING