Take the lead

And we’re off! Are you ready to Take the Lead and tackle homelessness for St Mungo’s? 

August 1 marked the start of our Take the Lead Challenge. For the last few months we’ve been urging dog owners across the UK to sign up, get active and Take the Lead in helping to end homelessness this summer.

The challenge is for dog owners to walk the length of a marathon (26.2 miles) with their furry companions over the 31 days of August.   

Meet Dexter

Who’s getting involved?

To help achieve our fundraising goals, the challenge is being supported by leading brands Lily’s Kitchen and Nationwide Building Society, as well as dog loving comedian and television presenter Paul O’Grady.

Representing the canine contingent, we’ve also got Instagram sensations, Marcel the Corgi and Bun the Sausage Dog onboard, who along with other participants are aiming to raise £12,000, and walk a collective total of 4,266 miles – one mile for every person found rough sleeping on a single night in England last year.

Why dog walking?

As one of the leading homelessness charities in England to accept pets into their hostels, here at St Mungo’s, we recognise the hugely powerful and emotional support that animals can bring to someone who is sleeping on the streets. During this pandemic, many people have valued the companionship and support of their pets at an unprecedented time of loneliness and isolation.

Most recently, St Mungo’s teams have been working round the clock to support vulnerable rough sleepers out of hotels, where they have been self-isolating during the pandemic, and into permanent accommodation.

So far, more than 300 people have been helped to move into longer term accommodation, with more being supported by the charity every single day and this is just one of the many wonderful projects that your fundraising efforts will go towards helping.

Meet Bun

What are our supporters saying? 

Petra Salva OBE, Director of Rough Sleepers, Ex-Offenders and Migrant Services at St Mungo’s says: “I am signing up to Take the Lead with my dog, Nero. We will be taking on the marathon distance virtually, but united as a team to help end homelessness. St Mungo’s are able to reduce barriers for someone coming off the streets by accepting pets into our hostels and we recognise the powerful emotional support a dog can provide.”

Paul O’Grady says:

“This challenge is a fantastic way to get outside with our dogs whilst helping to raise money for St Mungo’s and the brilliant work they do. As a dog lover myself, I know all too well about the incredible impact that they can have on people’s lives, especially during difficult times like these, and I am very pleased to be supporting such a great cause.” 

Samantha Crossley, Head of Marketing at Lily’s Kitchen says:

“Lily’s Kitchen is delighted to support St Mungo’s with their Take the Lead Challenge, which highlights the scale of homelessness in the UK today, with 4,266 rough sleepers in England alone.”

Not only that, but Take the Lead celebrates the special bond between dogs and their pup-parents, the special moments spent together each day exploring the world side by side. Lily’s Kitchen understands this relationship implicitly, as do St Mungo’s, which is why they ensure their clients are not separated from their beloved pets which can be an issue when finding safe accommodation.

“This is one of the reasons why we have loved supporting them over the years and look forward to doing so in the future.”

Meet Peggy

Is there still time to sign up with my dog?

Of course! Dog walkers can Take the Lead to support vulnerable people by visiting Take the Lead for more information on how to sign up.