Out of London; Down to Paris
“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’.
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!