The Cotswold Way challenge

    Sarah took part in the Cotswold Way Challenge as part of #TeamMungos, in her own words she tells us her experience of the event.

    Why this event? Where did you find it?

    I found this event via the St Mungo’s Facebook page. I did not realised how big the Cotswolds are, but to my surprise it goes all the way to Bath as well.

    This was your idea – how did you get people to join in the challenge?

    I made a presentation in our fortnightly Outside In group, including options of how many km to do (25km, 50km or 100km).  Also, because it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19, I included the details they had on the website about how they would make the event Covid-19 secure, to give those taking part confidence.

    What made you do it?

    I miss being outside. Things such as running, boxing and walking with friends have really helped me with my mental health as a way of coping with anxiety and frustration.

    In the past year there has been a lot of change, for example our Outside In meetings moving to Zoom. It was nice at first trying out this new technology – despite arguing with my girlfriend (Sally) over internet connection!

    I can only imagine what it like for school kids doing exams from lower-income backgrounds. Also, for those who are homeless struggling to get a roof over their head and food, never mind a computer and decent internet.

    Anyway, this was a way I could now finally see people’s legs! I do like a challenge and within Outside In, a lot of people tend to go out walking and enjoy adventures.

    I have done something like this when I did the Bristol half marathon and though it was hard work, I loved the experiences and was ready for my next challenge after being stuck inside for a long time .

    Before the event – how did you prepare?

    I was able to use the tips I picked up from training for the half marathon. I also looked up YouTube videos on hiking and followed their recommendations – walking boots, snack, and exercises. I followed the ultra challenge Facebook group and the guide they have on the website. Also, when we were waiting for the bus to the challenge we did some stretching to prepare our bodies for the walk, taking it in turns to choose what exercise we should do next.

    The beginning

    When we got to that start line it felt unreal, I couldn’t believe that we were doing this. Our temperature was taken at the start and we got handed an envelope that had our name, tracking chip and trek route with numbers on the back for emergencies. Whilst pinning my number to my backpack, the nerves were getting to me before we set off. I started to feel stressed but after being given sweets for the walk and seeing how everyone was excited, it helped calm me down.

    How was the challenge?

    There was a time where I was very present and got lost in the moment taking in everything and for once not over thinking which I tend to do. There were some parts where it was very steep and I struggled, but the walking sticks helped me a lot. The staff and other walkers were very friendly and the locals even offered to fill up our water bottles as well! We had banana bread made for us by one of the volunteers at Outside In, (who sadly couldn’t make it) which was such a nice treat along the way.

    What support did you get?

    I used the active app on my phone and followed the ultra challenge Facebook group and the guide they have on the website. On there, I was able to ask for tips and look how other people were preparing, as well giving me more confidence for the walk. I also used the Strava app – for training, the main walk and, of course, for the likes. I did need to go to the Wellbeing tent at the halfway point (12km) where they were friendly and were able to give me some tampons as I did not have any on me. This helped me feel more comfortable as although I had my tablets on me I was starting to feel uncomfortable and sickly and having that support helped a lot!

    There was plenty of food and drinks available for us to give us energy for our walk and a chance to sit down and talk to others to find out who they were walking for and why.

    The marshals were supportive as well. They were with us every step of the way, encouraging us and congratulating us as the end as well.  I got really good advice from one of them who suggested I should take my walking boots off on breaks to avoiding getting blisters.

    Was it Covid-19 safe? 

    Most definitely! Before the event they were very clear with what we should do at stops which ensured the safety of our team. We filled out a Covid-19 questionnaire beforehand and we all had to be tested before as well. They reminded us to wear masks and had more spread out start times so we were not all packed together.

    Would you do it again?

    Yes! Although I haven’t stopped napping since, it was a really good team building experience and with the same support from the team I would definitely do this again!


    Inspired by Sarah’s experience? Want to take on a challenge as part of #TeamMungo’s? Check out our events. 

    Jo and Rai take on our Make a Splash challenge

    In this blog we hear from Jo and Rachel who took part in our Make a Splash challenge on the morning of #GivingTuesday. Our swimming fundraiser is a fun way to make a splash and raise some cash to help us reach more people sleeping rough and bring them into the warmth. 

    1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us why you decided to take part in St Mungo’s Make A Splash challenge?

    Jo: Rai and I are part of a swimming group who try to get into the water all year round. We quite often do 10-15 minutes in the winter (as the water gets cold), and so when we saw the St Mungo’s Make a Splash appeal we decided that we would challenge ourselves to do the full 50 minutes in the sea!!

    Rai: During December we’re all rushing around buying for our loved ones, it felt right to do something for those that don’t have as much as myself. I also wanted to do something that would test my own limits; the sunrise splash hit both these targets.

    Image: Make A Splash swimmers
    Jo and Rai after the swimming challenge

    2. Do you think homelessness is a big problem in the area that you live?

    Jo: Yes, and it’s getting bigger. There have been huge changes and more people sleeping rough throughout the year. In Cornwall there used to be a seasonal influx, but that season doesn’t seem to be there any more. There are people sleeping rough here all year round.

    Rai: Cornwall is one of Europe’s poorest locations so we have a high population of people who are homeless. Additionally, when we have cold snaps – which are rarer this end of the country – people sleeping rough really suffer as they aren’t prepared for it as it’s not something that they would usually have to deal with.

    3. How did you find the Make A Splash challenge?

    Jo: We did 50 minutes in the sea in Cornwall where we live. The sea was about 11°C, so we got pretty cold; my fingers and toes completely stopped working until they thawed about an hour or so later.

    Whilst we were in the water we had a good chance to chat about why we were doing this. We were both looking forward to some hot chocolate and a bath when we finished. When you’re homeless you just don’t have that luxury – that really struck a chord with both of us.

    Rai: As well as the usual refreshing and exhilarating experience, it was also marked by a sense of purpose. In the last 10-15 minutes it was especially difficult to remain in the water as the coldness was beginning to creep into my arms and legs, and I had no control over my fingers and hands (a first for me during a sea swim).

    4. Do you regularly swim in the sea? Tell us what it’s like taking on an open water challenge during the winter months.

    Rai: I have been regularly swimming in the sea since November 2018 – I try to go at least once a week. I always swim without a wetsuit. The best part was completing the challenge – not because of the fact it was over but because I was so proud to have pushed my cold water acclimatisation ability.

    Jo: The weather can be unpredictable and we won’t swim when it is dangerous to do so. We have looked out at the sea and thought, hmmm, maybe not today! The morning on #GivingTuesday was absolutely gorgeous and there is something peaceful and beautiful about seeing the sun rise over a wintry flat calm sea on a cold crisp morning. It was definitely inspiring.

    5. What do you hope St Mungo’s will be able to do with the money you raise?

    Jo: I hope that it will help St Mungo’s to make sure that homeless and vulnerable people will be able to sleep safely. I really love that they are accepting of homeless people with dogs. I own two and they are such a comfort when things get too much – I can’t ever imagine having to choose between them and being safe in a bed at night with food. I hope that in supporting St Mungo’s, fewer people have to make this choice.

    Image: Dogs-make-a-splash
    Jo’s dogs came out to support the challenge

    6. Have you got a message to any supporters thinking about taking on our Make A Splash challenge this winter?

    Jo: Do it! It’s brilliant and really gives you time to contemplate and appreciate the important things in life.

    Rai: My message for those thinking of doing the Make A Splash Challenge would take the form of some advice for those who want to do more than run in and out of the water.

    • Cold water swimming is all about mental fortitude!
    • Take your time getting in and breathe through your cold water shock response. It’s perfectly natural to gasp and shiver but it will pass once you’re fully in.
    • Once you’re in, stay close to the shore and get out before you start shivering again – even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
    • If you can, swim with someone else who’s into it.
    • Wrap up warm when you get out and appreciate the lovely sensations!

    7. Would you take on the challenge again yourself?

    Jo: Yes! 51 minutes, bring it on!

    Rai: I plan on doing the Polar Bear Challenge in 2020, which I hope to include St Mungo’s Make A Splash challenge.


    Fancy taking the icy plunge? You can still take part in our Make a Splash challenge.

    Cold Water swimming can be dangerous. We advise that those wanting to take on a long distance swimming challenge do so in a swimming pool or seek professional training before doing so. If you have any under lying health conditions please consult a doctor before taking on Make a Splash.

    St Mungo’s swimming group

    Image: swimming group

    From left: Amanda, Charlie and Jim

    Amanda, a keen swimmer and support worker at a St Mungo’s hostel decided to help set up a swimming club for residents. We spoke to the group about the benefits of swimming and how it has helped them in their recovery from homelessness.

    How did the swimming group start?

    Amanda: I announced in our project newsletter that I was swimming the English Channel as part of a relay team for ASPIRE. This led to a lot of conversations with clients about the challenge and how we should go swimming as a group.

    Charlie: Amanda thought it would be a good way of bringing our community together.

    Stella: It was also a good way for us to support Amanda with her training.

    How was the first session at Tooting Lido?

    Jim: It was good to get out.

    Charlie: It reminded me of when I was younger. When I was growing up I grew very close to my neighbour Marina, who got me into swimming.

    She wanted me to have fun and enjoy water. Swimming helped me come out of my shell. We used to go with her son Carl, it was a memorable time, rich with love.

    Amanda: We had a lot of fun. Swimming is very freeing and it was great for people who hadn’t been in such a long time. The swimmers here all have a history of homelessness, with varying levels of ability and confidence in the water.

    The knock on effects were massive. One client used to be an accomplished swimmer but had lost her confidence. However, when we got to the pool she rediscovered her love of swimming and even demonstrated the butterfly stroke for us!

    Charlie: She was mesmerising and looked like she was in complete bliss.

    How would you persuade other clients to get involved in the swimming group?

    Charlie: I was in a dark place when I first lived in this hostel. However, after swimming we all talked about what a positive experience it had been.

    I would just encourage other clients to try it. For a lot of residents here, getting them out of their room is one step. The second is trying to get them to do something constructive with their time. Amanda gave us an opportunity and with a little bit of encouragement I decided to do it.

    Amanda: We wanted to ensure that all the potential barriers were reduced before we got to the pool. We organised a taxi to pick us up and made sure everyone had the right swimwear.

    Are you planning another visit?

    Amanda: We intend to continue this regularly once schools are back.

    However, money is a big barrier for us. We get a certain amount for welfare but this often doesn’t cover activities such as swimming. We rely a lot on donations from local businesses.

    Our client swimming group is taking part in our Make A Splash winter swimming campaign this December. We are challenging our supporters to brave the open water this winter and raise £50 for St Mungo’s. Your donations help us offer more activities for our clients that help build confidence, gain new skills and improve mental health. 

    “I will remember it forever”

    Image: Naz during training walk for Ben Nevis

    Tomorrow a group of St Mungo’s staff, supporters, volunteers and clients are hiking up Ben Nevis. We spoke to Naz, who has been living in St Mungo’s accommodation for four years. He tells us why he wanted to climb Ben Nevis.

    What made you want to climb Ben Nevis?

    My support worker asked if I wanted to climb Ben Nevis, he said it was brilliant so I agreed to do it.

    I think the idea behind it is amazing. It is a big achievement, climbing a mountain.

    Hiking is something that people do as a kid and a lot of people here have missed experiencing in their younger lives due to different circumstances. It is what people need for their morale.

    I will remember it forever as I have never climbed a mountain before.

    Do you think it will help your recovery?

    It already has, even during the training walks I feel better.

    Why did you want to do it?

    For one, it is a change of environment. Secondly, it makes you feel like you are actually doing something for St Mungo’s instead of just using it as a housing association. It is rebuilding your life, and now I have recovered I want to take every step to rebuild my life.

    I also want to network as I like the team at St Mungo’s. I want to get into the sector. I have helped myself but I don’t really feel like I have achieved much until I help other people.

    What are you looking forward to at Ben Nevis?

    The sense of achievement and the need for encouragement of other people. I want to help people during the climb, even if it’s just by talking to them.

    I also look forward to the effect of it after; being able to say that I have climbed a mountain with St Mungo’s.

    I haven’t really been conscious about things St Mungo’s do. I have been distracted by my lifestyle. When you change your life, you want to meet new people. St Mungo’s slogan is rebuilding lives, and I am one of those people who have.

    In September to mark our 50th year 50 clients, staff members and volunteers join staff from our sponsor Tokio Marine to take on the highest peak in Britain. Find out more about our Ben Nevis hiking challenge. 

    “Hiking brings out the best in people”

    Image: Ben Nevis

    In September, a group of St Mungo’s staff, supporters, volunteers and clients are hiking up Ben Nevis. We spoke to two staff members from Haringey Assessment Centre, Geran and Leo, about the hiking challenge and why it can help clients in their road to recovery.

    How did you hear about Ben Nevis?

    Geran: I was asked by Leo, to head up a training walk for our service before we head to Ben Nevis. We have two residents from our service with us on the training walk who have overcome significant hurdles to be here. Both clients are on alcohol detox programmes. This is the first training walk they have attended and they will come on the Ben Nevis walk if they are able to reduce their drinking.

    We are the highest support service in the borough, so we tend to be the first place clients come after moving away from the street. As a service we see the hike as a good opportunity for them to have something to aspire to, something to overcome and a reason to reduce drinking.

    We have a few other clients who are interested and might attend future training walks. Any clients from our service who want to do it have the opportunity to do so. It is often the ones you don’t expect that have the most interest so it’s a good mix of people.

    Why are these hikes important?

    Leo: I have been on a lot trips like this and have seen the beneficial effect it has on everyone. It brings people together in such a way that it brings the best out of people. It is a really uplifting experience. It helps the clients we work with get more motivated to achieve good things in their lives, which is ultimately the purpose.

    Geran: It takes some of the barriers away from the different levels of management. Clients are able to see the human aspects of the staff who often call the shots in a lot of aspects of their lives. I think it’s a humanising experience that shows we are not that different.

    Why do you think it is important for clients to take part in this challenge?

    Leo: There is so much to gain for clients. They can find out more about St Mungo’s from other perspectives. It can also change relationships between service workers and clients as it takes away the power dynamic.

    Geran: I think it’s inspiring for clients to have something to push themselves to do. Some clients have been struggling on this training walk and it is a good motivator to focus on making improvements. In the case of our two clients it’s an opportunity to reduce something that is having a detrimental effect on their life.

    Did either of you climb Scafell Pike last year?  How was it?

    Leo: I did. It was an amazing experience seeing so many people get uplifted. I love hiking so to get to do that as part of a wider vision is a really special opportunity.

    After Scafell Pike, a few clients got onto training courses and some have moved on from St Mungo’s accommodation and got their own places. I know at least two clients who did it last year and are going to climb Ben Nevis this year because they got so much out of the trip last time.

    Why are you personally looking forward to Ben Nevis?

    Leo: From a selfish point of view I really love hiking and I know how good it is and how satisfying it is to get to the top of something.

    To be part of St Mungo’s doing it in their 50th year is special. I am looking forward to the reactions of my colleagues and clients from my service. I am optimistic that it will be pretty amazing and mind blowing, because it always is.

    Geran: I come from the countryside, I love walking and being out in nature. I want to inspire that passion in other people.

    In September to mark our 50th year 50 clients, staff members and volunteers join staff from our sponsor Tokio Marine to take on the highest peak in Britain. Find out more about our Ben Nevis hiking challenge. 

    Run to the Moon Challenge

    Image: Run to the Moon graphic

    To mark St Mungo’s 50th anniversary year we are challenging our supporters to do 50 things to help us end homelessness. We have seen everything from dog hiking to art exhibitions as part of our 50@50 campaign

    Now it is time for us to join together for our biggest 50@50 challenge yet. We need the help of our staff, supporters, volunteers and clients more than ever as St Mungo’s challenges you to Run To The Moon.

    One Small Step

    One small step for man 50 years ago on 20 July 1969 marked one giant leap for mankind. In that same year a group of volunteers decided to do something to help homeless people, forming St Mungo’s and marking one small step towards ending homelessness in the UK. Fifty years on and the technology revolution is accelerating at a rapid rate whilst the gravity of issues surrounding homelessness shows little sign of relenting.

     

     

    The Challenge

    The distance to the moon is 238,855 miles. Over the course of 164 days (July 20 to Dec 31) we need to run a combined average of 1,455 miles per day. To do this you will need to link up with Strava or RunKeeper and get as many comrades running as possible.

    There is no fundraising obligation or minimum distance for this challenge. We want to unite staff, clients, volunteers and supporters to remember those who have been involved with St Mungo’s in the past and to consider those who need our help now.

    You are welcome to clock up the miles by walking, running, handcycling, via wheelchair, or any other way that the required fitness tracker will allow you. Every person who joins the challenge will appear on the shared event page with a combined total counter for miles travelled and a leader board for those who have contributed the most.

    Virtual Events

    It might sound like a new series of Black Mirror but virtual events are no longer something of the future – they are taking over the world of fundraising.

    We understand that you might want to support a cause, but getting to a specific place at a specific time and raising a set amount before a deadline just doesn’t always work out. That’s why more and more people are getting on board with virtual events – they fit around your lifestyle.

    We have teamed up with the fundraising platform GivePenny to develop a challenge that uses their ability to integrate with the fitness tracking apps you might already use, like Strava and Runkeeper, so you can challenge yourself and raise money as and when it suits you.

    How To Sign Up

    Follow the small steps below and sign up to St Mungo’s Race To The Moon challenge:

    1. Sign up by following the ‘Join Campaign’ link on our GivePenny event page
    2. Download the fitness tracking apps Strava or RunKeeper. If you already use a different fitness tracking device you should be able to sync it with Strava.
    3. Get running.
    4. Share your page and encourage others to join the challenge.

    Have some fun and challenge your friends, family or colleagues to join us as we launch St Mungo’s into outer space. If you have been inspired to get involved or set-up your own 50@50 challenge, get in touch with our dedicated events team at events@mungos.org.

     

    Tokio Marine sponsor Ben Nevis

    Image: Team Mungo's climb Scafell Pike

    After conquering Scafell Pike last year, Team Mungo’s are back for another challenge. This year, staff, clients, volunteers, supporters and our sponsor Tokio Marine take on Ben Nevis. We caught up with Alice from Tokio Marine to tell us why they decided to join this year’s hike.

    Image: Alice Palmer, Tokio Marine

    Hello, Alice. Tell us a bit about yourself

    I’ve been working for Tokio Marine HCC (TMHCC) since March 2017 where I joined as an Underwriting Assistant. I live in Kent with my family and two cocker spaniels, Sonny and Ralph.

    Whilst at school I was actively involved in fundraising and charity work, working closely with local charity MCCH and as member of Rotary.

     


    Why did TMHCC decide to partner up with St Mungo’s?

    We have a long-standing partnership with St Mungo’s and we wanted to maintain this relationship because our employees believe homelessness is a worthwhile cause. Homelessness is sadly something we all see commuting into London and it is particularly unavoidable in the city.

    St Mungo’s not only educates our staff about the ways in which we can help prevent and support homelessness, but also assists us with planning exciting fundraising initiatives to maximise our company’s support.

    Why did you decide to sponsor our Ben Nevis challenge this year?

    We saw the challenge as a great opportunity to allow employees to hear about the work of St Mungo’s first hand from their clients. It’s also a great way of boosting physical and mental health by escaping from the busy corporate world.

    It is important for TMHCC that staff engage with our partner charities and we think this challenge is the perfect opportunity for some of our employees to really understand the impact that St Mungo’s can have on those in need.

    Why did you personally decide to join the challenge?

    I wanted to take part in the challenge to meet people who have experienced homeless and hear about how St Mungo’s has influenced their lives. There is also the added bonus of the beautiful backdrop of Ben Nevis!

    Have you done much training?

    Zilch! I’m hoping that miles of dog walking will hold me in good stead, although I have begun planning some routes in and around Kent. I’m going to attempt to do a 10 mile walk every fortnight to push myself physically and mentally, while also breaking in my new walking boots. We’re also doing some team training walks in August and can’t wait to see everyone come together.

    What are you hoping to get out of the trip?

    I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the St Mungo’s clients and hearing their personal stories, while finding out more about the impact St Mungo’s has had on their lives.


    Find out more about our Ben Nevis challenge and how you can support it.

    Meet our youngest fundraisers

    Image: Nicholas and Alex on a walk

    The annual London Marathon is the UK’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Ahead of the 2019 race, we caught up with two of the smallest fundraisers of the year, Alex (6) and Nicholas (8), who are taking on the London Marathon course by walking it with their dad the day before the official race.

    Why have you decided to walk the London Marathon? Whose idea was it?

    Nicholas wanted to fundraise for St Mungo’s so Dad suggested we walk the London Marathon course.

    Have you managed to go on many training walks?

    Lots. We started back in November.

    What are you looking forward to most about the walk?

    Seeing all the sights in London: the Cutty Sark, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Tower of London, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.

    Where is your favourite place to walk?

    N: By a river as it is peaceful.
    A: Near flowers so I can smell them.

    Image: Nicholas and Alex walk the London Marathon

    We have heard Alex and Nicholas like to collect objects whilst walking. What is your favourite thing you have collected so far?N: Sticks and golf balls.

    N: Sticks and golf balls.
    A: A coconut shell.

    Why did you choose to fundraise for St Mungo’s?

    We have chosen to fundraise for St Mungo’s because we have seen homeless people struggling on the streets and want to help them.

    Do you think homelessness is a big problem in the area that you live?

    There are a few homeless people where we live and we see a lot more in bigger towns like High Wycombe.

    What do you hope St Mungo’s will be able to do with the money you raise?

    Pay for shelters and food, as well as for training people so they are better able to get jobs.

    Have you got a message to our London Marathon runners who will be running the day after?

    A: Keep going especially when it is hard.
    N: Even if you are small, you can achieve great things.

    Alex and Nicholas will start the course with their dad, Tom, at 7am on Saturday 27 April and aim to complete it by 7pm the same day. They have their own Twitter page and have already exceeded their £1,000 fundraising target on their JustGiving page.

    The 2019 London Marathon is set to exceed £1 billion in donations raised for good causes during Race Week. Every year we are blown away by the commitment of our supporters to raise money whilst training for the race of a lifetime, and we wish everyone (big or small) the best of luck for this weekend!

    Get inspired, get involved

    Check out our current challenge events or get in touch with Will at events@mungos.org to receive a free fundraising pack and find out more about how you can plan your own fundraising event.

    Taking on a challenge to help end homelessness

    Each year we’re amazed by the supporters who choose to raise money for St Mungo’s by taking on their own challenge, raising essential funds to help support our services. Will Potter, Events and Partnerships Officer, reflects on the fantastic achievements of our 2018 fundraising alumni and suggests some ways that you can get inspired to take on your own challenge for our 50th Anniversary next year.

    Every year the St Mungo’s events team put on our creative hats and try to come up with new fundraising challenges. From running and cycling, to abseiling and video gaming, we try and keep up with new trends to offer our supporters the best event experience possible. Our creative inspiration is often outdone, however, by the daring imagination of our supporters.

    In 2018 we’ve seen some truly astonishing achievements from fundraisers who have had an idea and ran (or cycled, parachuted, driven, kayaked, or wing-walked) with it.

    Incredible feats of endurance

    The year kicked off with Morgan, Elliot and Finn signing up to race a Tuk Tuk 3,000 kilometres across India over the course of 14 days. Jasmine decided to get around on her own two feet, signing up to run one of the great wonders, the Great Wall of China marathon.

    Others chose to rise above planet Earth and take to the skies. Emily and Nerys skydived out of a plane at 14,000 feet and brave Sue has pledged to go one step further, and walk on the wings of a plane travelling at 130 miles per hour.

    We’ve also seen some incredible feats of endurance. Agriculture company, Syngenta, organised a 24 hour football match; Darren and Paul kayaked the length of the River Thames, clocking up an incredible 150 miles in six days; and Gerald and Cathy entered the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, paddling a total 125 miles with a lot of lugging the heavy canoe between locks.

    Epic and outlandish challenges

    Last week was the end of a seven week long, 650 mile journey for Leo Manning-Farnon, a bricklayer from North East London, who has been carrying a 25 kilogram bag of sand across the land from London to John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland.

    Leo’s family first let us know about his epic plans and ambitious fundraising target at the beginning of the year. The audacity of the challenge was matched by Leo’s determination; his daily vlogs and inspirational journey has attracted press coverage and donations from all over the UK to support our work.

    Successfully smashing targets

    Our biggest team and most successful fundraisers this year are a 30 strong group called WHOOSH who are based in South London. They are an amazing collective of keen cyclists who take on a five day cycling challenge each year in aid of two charities; one local and one international.

    They asked their sponsors to help them raise £10,000 – the equivalent cost of refurbishing two kitchens where our clients who have experienced homelessness can learn to cook. After cycling 300 miles from Lancaster to Ayr, they smashed their fundraising target, exceeding an incredible £12,000. WHOOSH!

    Get inspired, get involved

    We hope these daring tales of endeavour will inspire a future generation of fundraisers. St Mungo’s is turning 50 years old next year and we need the help, creativity, and dedication of our supporters more than ever. Run 50 kilometres, cycle 50 metres, swim 50 lengths…what will you choose?

    Check out our current challenge events or get in touch with Will at events@mungos.org to receive a free fundraising pack and find out more about how you can plan your own fundraising event.

    Team St Mungo’s climbs Scafell Pike!

    Image: St Mungo's climbs Scafell Pike play

    This September a group of 10 St Mungo’s clients climbed Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak. The challenge was the idea of St Mungo’s client and volunteer Mandy. She explains more about how she wanted to take part to remember all those who have died sleeping rough and to show it is possible to recover from homelessness.

    I’m Mandy, I live in Islington with my dog Skye and I volunteer for St Mungo’s, the charity that helps people experiencing homelessness. On 3 September, I stood on top of the highest peak in England and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

    St Mungo’s helped me when I was sleeping rough

    Unfortunately, life hasn’t always been this good. Throughout my life, I have struggled with mental illness and, due to family problems, I found myself homeless. In 2014, I slept on the streets for two and a half weeks.

    Living on the streets became so tough that it led to an attempted suicide. However, after visiting a local church for a shower and some food, I was introduced to St Mungo’s. They offered Skye and myself a place in a hostel and I have lived in their accommodation ever since.

    I’ve come a long way since then, which is why last year I had the idea to climb a mountain with other people with experience of homelessness. I wanted to do this to show it is possible to recover from homelessness and to remember all those who aren’t as lucky as me, who have sadly died sleeping rough. Our first mountain in 2017 was Snowdon and this year, we chose Scafell Pike.

    Preparing for the 3,210ft summit

    So on 3 September 2018, we all caught the train from London to Penrith in the Lake District and nervously waited overnight for the next day’s climb.

    We were a mixed group of 10 men and women. Our age, our fitness, our hiking experience and our mental and physical health needs were all varied. But, we had one thing in common; we all knew what it felt to be homeless and we all wanted to prove that it is possible to recover from it. We did this alongside St Mungo’s staff, supporters and volunteers.

    After next to no sleep in our youth hostel in Borrowdale due to nerves and excitement, we set off the next day at 7.30am for Scafell Pike. Walking the streets of London is second nature for lots of us. However rocky, steep terrain is different and it became clear quite quickly that it was going to be a challenge to get us all to the top. In fact, half way up, our guides became concerned that some of the group would not make it.

    Reaching the peak

    It took resilience, determination and a lot of encouragement but every single person reached the peak. I’ll never forget that moment. I’ve spent my life hiding under a rock and suddenly I was on top of the highest one in England!

    What we didn’t realise, was that making our way down was going to be even harder. It took over 12 and a half hours before we arrived back at our youth hostel at 8pm in the evening.

    When my aching body got into bed that night, I thought about how far I’ve come in the last six years and how grateful I am that I now have a place to call home.

     

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