Leamington-based homelessness charity celebrates its first fundraising walk

The charity is hoping to hold another fundraising walk next year

Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:30 am

A Leamington-based homelessness charity is celebrating the success of its first fundraising walk.

The Salvation Army’s Way Ahead Project held a “One Small Step” 5K walk on May 15 to raise funds to allow it to continue to support local homeless and vulnerably housed people.

Stephanie Jackson, fundraiser at the Way Ahead Project, said: “We have kept our doors open throughout the pandemic, changing what services we provided according to restrictions at the time.

Walkers Christine Murrin Foyle and Darryl Murrin Foyle. Photo supplied

"But this has taken a toll on our finances.

"The idea of a fundraising walk came to us when we thought about how many of the people who rely on the Way Ahead Project for support and advice, find themselves walking the streets either looking for a place to sleep or just because they need to keep out of the way of that friend or family member who is providing a sofa to sleep on, until it’s time for bed.

“We also wanted to acknowledge that, for many of those people who use our facilities, asking us for help is one small step towards addressing the underlying cause of their homelessness whether that is addiction, mental health issues or destructive relationships.

"A big part of our work with these vulnerable members of our community involves building relationships of trust so that we can help them turn that one small step into a real transformation and support them as they get their lives back on track.”

Six supporters, along with two members of staff, undertook a five kilometre walk.

Because of Covid restrictions, the walkers chose their own route and walked in household bubbles or small groups.

One supporter said: “We love walking and the outdoors so we enjoyed taking part in this event. It was good to be able to support such an amazing charity.”

So far, more than £750 has been raised which will be used to help fund the Way Ahead Project’s drop-in facilities which are usually open five mornings each week.

Last year, the Way Ahead Project worked with more than 260 people to provide them with food, in the form of takeaway lunches and food parcels, as well as advice and support on issues ranging from sorting out housing benefits to coping with social isolation to learning how to budget.

Stephanie said: “We had hoped to hold this event in person because we know the importance of being able to interact with other people – being a listening ear is one of the most important jobs we do.

"But it was safer to make this a virtual event for 2021. We’re looking forward to holding a 'real' One Small Step walk next year.”

If anyone would like to support the Way Ahead Project’s work, donations can be made at: https://justgiving.com/campaign/the-way-ahead-project