Residential property specialist, Chestertons, has supported St Mungo’s since 2015, hosting events for our clients, raising vital funds in their offices and through sporting challenges, and getting involved first hand with our Real Lettings and outreach projects. Allan Collins, CEO of Chestertons, and his son, Sam Collins, a Human Resources Advisor at Chestertons, tell us why they have taken on their biggest fundraising challenge to date – the London Marathon 2018.
I’ve seen a lot of things since we partnered with St Mungo’s, and it’s changed my attitude to homelessness in London and giving back to the community. One of my motivations is that our staff have chosen this charity. Although I knew very little about it before the partnership, since being involved, you notice much more about homelessness and people who are homeless. I think I’m probably guilty of walking past a homeless person without thinking about it. Now at least I think about it and wonder whether there has been a StreetLink report for that person out on the streets.
On 22 April, my son Sam and I will take on the Virgin Money London Marathon to support St Mungo’s. One of the things I noticed having spoken to people at St Mungo’s is how committed everybody I’ve come across is, and how they really want to make a difference. It makes you fired up and want to do the same. Although training in the winter is hard, you have to think that at least we are not sleeping outside and can come back inside afterwards.
I recently went on my first outreach shift at night with St Mungo’s Outreach Worker, Kevin. I was quite surprised at the number of people sleeping rough in London; it did shock me somewhat. I was also surprised at the amount of preparation we did before we went out on the shift.
One thing that especially struck me was how much Kevin knew about everybody we met – he had come across most of them before. He was very good at finding out information to help people rough sleeping into accommodation.
A person can end up on the streets for many reasons. It could be bad luck, the end of a tenancy, it could be addiction, or mental health. Kevin did a fantastic job dealing with all the different people and the different reasons they were there, trying to get them into accommodation. He had a good relationship with them; the ones he had met before trusted him.
We were discussing earlier about how cold it is to go out running in the winter, but when you think about people actually homeless on the street every night, that’s one of my big motivations for running the marathon. It’s horrible to see people just walk past and not see someone as a person – so to treat these people as people and not just walk past them is motivation and this sort of spurs me on to train through the cold winter. I’m out there for a few hours, they are out there all night.
Between us we have taken on three half marathons – although the Royal Parks one was really hard so I’m worried about the London Marathon. But it’s a good learning curve to start training.
A key thing we do at Chestertons is raise money for St Mungo’s because that’s how the charity can develop and continue to support their clients.
A lot of people in the business have fundraised for St Mungo’s, our senior management team and charity committee abseiled down the ArcelorMittal Orbit at Halloween.
A couple of members of my team are very keen to shave parts of my body for this good cause. I don’t know how keen on this I am – but they are pushing for that!
Our part is just something that goes to help St Mungo’s – if everyone raises a little bit it can go a long way.
If you would like to take on a challenge for St Mungos, please take a look at our current event places.