Our Community and Events Manager, Beth, has helped organise our annual hiking challenge since its inception three years ago. She shares her experience from previous treks, what she’s expecting for this year’s Ben Nevis climb and why the challenge is such a collaborative effort.
Listen to Beth’s full interview or read our Q&A below.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I work in our fundraising team and manage our community, events and regional fundraising teams. I have been involved with our client hiking challenge for the last three years. This year for our third challenge and also our 50th anniversary we are taking on Ben Nevis in Scotland.
How did the challenge begin?
Our clients were asked in a senior leadership meeting how they can help support fundraising and give back to St Mungo’s and challenge themselves in their road to recovery. Two of our fantastic clients Claire and Mandy came up with the idea of climbing up some mountains.
They came up with the very first client-led trip up Mount Snowdon, supported Scafell Pike last year and are joining us for Ben Nevis this year. You can read about Mandy’s journey from homelessness to Mount Snowdon on our blog.
What is your role?
My role is to oversee the trip and make sure everything is in place and organised. Mandy and Claire sign off final details; they are very much my bosses not the other way round.
This year there are 50 people climbing Ben Nevis, a mix of clients, volunteers, staff and supporters. Why do you think the hiking challenge has become so popular?
We chose to include 50 people to mark our 50th anniversary.
It is a chance to give our clients a reward for their recovery and an opportunity to explore a new area. Our team is very supportive and when we climb up a mountain our labels get left at the bottom. For clients, where you are in your recovery gets left at the bottom.
It is just a wonderful thing to offer and that’s why it is so popular for everybody. I feel really privileged that we get to do it year on year.
Why do you think it is so important to do as a group challenge?
For some clients who went on Scafell Pike, we saw them really move forward after the trip. A few people have found their own accommodation, they have jobs and they are getting really involved in other St Mungo’s activities.
It is my job to make sure the second we get down we are talking about the next steps for clients.
What is your favourite memory from one of the hiking trips?
One of our female clients really struggled last year. She had a knee operation a year before we went up Scafell Pike. She was struggling and lost her confidence. Another client on his own accord took her bag, held her hand and helped her up the mountain.
It is that selflessness, empowerment and team spirit that for me is so memorable.
What has the hiking trip taught you over the years?
It has taught me a lot about our clients. It has taught me that recovery isn’t linear. You don’t get someone off the street, get someone into a house, get them a job and then it’s all okay. It just doesn’t always work like that.
I have learnt that if I am consistent with clients and staff, touch base and check that they are okay then people will trust you and relax themselves.
These hikes give you a chance to get to know people from all walks of life. We are really blessed at St Mungo’s that we are such a diverse group of people. People are always open to get to know each other. It is a good group this year, I am excited.
Find out more about this year’s Ben Nevis trip.