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Thank You to our Lockdown Heroes

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in our 31 Miles in 31 Days January Challenge to raise over £6,700 (and counting) towards our work helping local people to overcome homelessness.

We launched our first ever New Year challenge at the beginning of January as a way to help local people to keep moving during lockdown and get started on their New Year resolutions whilst raising vital funds for our work.

“We’ve been amazed at the way people have rallied to help make a difference to local people experiencing homelessness at a time that is difficult for everyone,” said Dina Jobson, our Head of Fundraising. “We had also hoped that this would be a way to give back to our supporters by helping them to keep busy and have a sense of purpose during this third lockdown, and we have been delighted to hear people’s personal experiences.”

The money raised will help us to continue our work supporting people who are homeless, vulnerably housed or at risk of losing their home in Southend. We provide housing and support to people staying in our 226 rooms on their journeys to independent living, and advice and guidance to local people who are without a home, sofa-surfing or at risk of becoming homeless. We also support people who were formerly rough sleeping and temporarily housed in B&Bs by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council during the first lockdown and have now moved into permanent accommodation to help them sustain their tenancies.

Participants have had good things to say about the challenge.

Carol Smith (pictured above) has been walking daily for the challenge and said:

“I thought I’d take up this challenge to give me something worthwhile to focus on during these dark January days. I still can’t believe how quickly my family & friends supported me!”

Jenna is mum to Joseph Bond, from Leigh, who is just 11 years old and decided to take part in the challenge after his friend signed up. He ran every day in January for the challenge, raising an amazing £480. Jenna said:

“I am so proud of Joseph. He wanted to do something to help others and asked if he could take part. Obviously I agreed and he is really putting his heart and soul into it, running every day and raising over £350 pounds so far. He told his teacher about it and she was so inspired she has decided to run and make a donation to Joseph’s challenge for every target she meets. He hasn’t moaned at all and is happy to try and help people less fortunate than himself. In these unprecedented times, there are people still doing amazing things for those less fortunate and it’s amazing that children are getting through all this and still thinking of others”

Nina Hatch is a new mum from Southend. She told us:

“HARP has always been a charity I have supported and is something I feel very strongly about. For the past few years Mike and I have donated to HARP at Christmas, whether it be through making a donation instead of sending Christmas cards, donating to their local charity shop, or putting together an essentials gift box.”

Nina continued: “By walking at least 31 miles in 31 days in January, not only can I contribute a little bit more than usual, but it's also a great excuse for me to get some of my fitness back after having my baby, and have a positive start to the year!”

Another Nina - Nina Jervis - is took on the challenge with her partner, David. They used their walks to help keep the streets clean:

“We wanted to help our local community and have some focus on getting out of the house in January, so this challenge is perfect. We also decided to pick up masks on our walks to add something useful to the mix in an attempt to give our supporters extra value for money.”

Find out more and take a look at some of our participant photos on our challenge photo gallery here.


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