Out of London; Down to Paris

    Network Homes Team

    “It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you” is a quote from George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. You may not have wanted to kick someone for sleeping out but how many times have you walked by, getting on with your busy life, not caring to think about what the needs are of someone sleeping rough?

    I have never been in the position of not having a roof over my head or wanting to know when I will get my next meal. It is not something I want to experience and do not think others should have to experience it either. But they do. There is a housing crisis; people are not able to afford to buy or rent and there are increasing numbers of people sleeping rough as well as hidden homeless.

    ‘Supporting people through times to rebuild their lives’

    As someone who works for a company providing housing, Network Homes, I and 19 of my colleagues signed up to ride London to Paris to raise money for St Mungo’s. We believe in the value of services they provide to end homelessness and supporting people through some tough times to rebuild their lives.

    The Network Homes’ team is of mixed ability. When we decided to sign up for this in February 2017, some had not had the wind (or rain) in their faces since childhood! The thing that bonds us is the desire to get to Paris and raise as much as we can for St Mungo’s.

    Over £63,000 raised

    We have raised over £63,000 through donations and sponsorship. Our L2P jersey and bib shorts are adorned with logos from our sponsors, topped and tailed with our company branding.

    For me, as a regular cyclist, it has given me more of an excuse to get out during the long spring and summer days to get my training in. After riding Ride London 100 at the end of July, in the St Mungo’s colours, my training continued with an increase in the number long rides on consecutive days and now I am excited about setting off from Crystal Palace.

    On the 13 September it will be ‘au revoir London’ and 300 miles and four days later it will be ‘hello Paris’.

    James Dean
    Network Homes

    Why we fundraise for St Mungo’s

    I will put my hands up and say, I am not cycling to Paris. But what I am doing is supporting the fantastic team of 20 get from Crystal Palace to the Eiffel Tower and encouraging them every step of the way for the fantastic work and effort they have been putting into this momentous challenge.

    I have been championing fundraising at Network Homes since 2015, and since 2016 St Mungo’s has been our charitable cause. Chosen by staff, St Mungo’s and Network Homes share common values and passions for challenging the housing crisis and helping those in need. This cycle is the culmination of efforts from every single member of our staff. While only 20 will be cycling, our staff have attended tea parties, baked cakes and donated household items – and even played in football tournaments, all to help the St Mungo’s cause.

    I am immensely proud of our cyclists and of all the staff at Network Homes who have contributed to our fantastic achievement. It is a true story of how one good idea can become a tremendous force for change, and we hope that every single penny raised will help the homeless and generate real change in their lives.

    On to Paris!

    Rebecca Bicocchi
    Network Homes

     

    We came. We saw. We conquered.

    Image: Clients and Staff at St Mungo's climb Mount Snowdon

    St Mungo’s client and volunteer, Mandy, has shown incredible strength in her journey to conquer homelessness. Having now also conquered Mount Snowdon, Mandy shares with us her inspirational challenge and her ongoing determination to help others on their road to recovery from homelessness.

    From the streets to the mountain top

    In June I took on one of the biggest challenges of my life. Along with my friend Claire, also a client at St Mungo’s, we successfully led a team of other clients and staff to the top of Mount Snowdon. Snowdon is the tallest mountain in Wales at 1,085m above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside of Scotland. We were keen to do this for a couple of reasons; to celebrate how we had conquered homelessness and to raise funds and awareness to help give others the same chance.

    Your support helped us to the summit, thank you.

    Having spent months meticulously planning, we arrived at Snowdon the day before full of excitement and couldn’t wait for challenge day!

    The team set out first thing in the morning in great spirits. We could all feel exactly how much the challenge meant to us, and we were so determined to complete it.

    We were totally overwhelmed by the number of people who supported us with generous donations and lovely good luck messages in the lead up to the big day. This kept us motivated all the way to the top, we really wanted to do everyone proud.

    We came. We saw. We conquered.

    We made some truly special memories along the walk which we’ll never forget. Touching the summit of Snowdon was a dream come true. It was a proud and emotional moment for all of us, who had never imagined we could do something like this.

    In memory of those who have died while sleeping rough

    At the top of Snowdon we dedicated our challenge to those who have died while homeless or sleeping rough. We all knew that could easily have been us.

    It was a particularly emotional moment for me as I took the chance to reflect on how far I had come along my journey to recovery. Just two years ago, I was sleeping rough. Today I have a place to call home and have had the chance to rebuild my life. I’ve seen myself grow so much, and I know this wouldn’t have been possible without St Mungo’s and their supporters.

    Let’s help everyone conquer homelessness

    At the heart of our challenge was our determination to help others who are homeless. Along with the rest of St Mungo’s, we believe that everybody should have a place to call home and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

    I’ve experienced first-hand how dangerous rough sleeping is and how it can affect mental health.  At St Mungo’s having a place to stay, therapy and learning new skills all helped me to recover. We desperately want to give other homeless people the same chance. It would mean the world to so many people if you could give a gift to help us save and change the lives of others.

    We cannot thank people enough for supporting us

    Thank you so much for your support. Without it, this walk would have been literally that; only a walk. Your support has made it a life changing experience not only for us, but for the homeless people we’re now able to help.

    I hope that our challenge will inspire others to think that if Mandy and Claire can climb a mountain, then they can do anything they put their mind to. We’d love to think that someone sleeping rough today could hear about our achievement, feel inspired to conquer their own challenge and make a positive difference to their life or the lives of others.

    Thank you all so much for making this possible and supporting us every step of the way.

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