After many discussions about who the Foundation wanted to try and help in 2017 it was decided that the focus of their resources should be on the homeless in Calderdale. As a result, the HomeRun Project 2017 was born.
It is important to bear in mind that homeless doesn’t always mean people sleeping under cardboard on the street (in fact there are actually very few of these cases), it can mean living in shelters, sleeping on a mate’s couch or families in hostels. There are, unfortunately, many different definitions of being homeless.
Many people who deal with the challenges of homelessness are often given support of food, shelter, clothes and accommodation. However, the ABS Foundation decided to focus on the mental health and well-being aspect of people who are trying to get their lives back on track.
The link between exercise and mental health is well-known and the psychological and physiological benefits that running, and more specifically, training for a race, can bring, could really help when dealing with major issues which so often feature within homelessness including: alcohol, drugs, stress, depression.
There are other charities nationwide who have tried a similar approach with local homeless people. Their success stories were encouragement enough for the Foundation to try something similar in Calderdale. They found examples of people living in temporary accommodation (for a variety of reasons) who were encouraged to run with volunteers as they trained for a race. The regimen of running and training was credited with helping some of them stay off drugs and alcohol and for – literally – turning their lives around.
Beyond the physical benefits, running shows that you can set, then meet, a goal, it has structure and discipline and a feeling of accomplishment at the end. The Foundation hope these benefits will translate into their “real” life and they can start to build the future they want and to start to believe in themselves.
The project will be coordinated by Calderdale SmartMove – a registered charity who assist homeless and vulnerably housed people in Calderdale.
The ABS Foundation will initially donate £9,000 to the project which has been matched by the Community Foundation for Calderdale with some additional funding making a total of £19,000 towards the cause. This will enable SmartMove to coordinate the initiative and help the budding athletes.
So…how can you help?
The ABS Foundation is also looking for donations of running equipment including trainers, clothing and Hi Vis gear from the local community and is interested in working with local running clubs to help train at least five of the individuals to compete in the Great North Run in 2018.
Staff volunteers and keen runners from ABS UK Ltd will also take part in a buddy system for individual training sessions.
If you have any items of running equipment that you would be willing to donate to the cause please get in touch by clicking here.
For regular updates please visit the project’s dedicated twitter page by clicking here.