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10 mile ‘weighted walk’ challenge helps to carry the load for young people

A team of almost 30 people took to the streets of Manchester for a 10 mile walk, while carrying 10kg, all to raise money to support homeless and at risk young people.


The group, primarily from Skills for Growth – SME Support as well as GC Business Growth Hub and Aspire Recruitment, set out yesterday (June 9) from its office on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre to Heaton Park and back again – a distance of around 10 miles.

This was part of Depaul UK’s Weighted Walk Challenge and each of the participants carried around 10kg with them as a result. The walk was also the longest and largest weighted walk that has taken place for Depaul this year.

Depaul offers a safe place to stay, alongside vital support and guidance to help young people achieve their ambitions and move towards a more positive future.

The Skills for Growth team decided to take part in the challenge after recently starting to work with Depaul UK to help it to work with the wider community in Greater Manchester whilst continuing to provide a valuable service to counter youth homelessness.

 

Skills for Growth – SME Support launched in October 2020 and is a fully funded business support programme which is designed to help Greater Manchester SMEs to achieve their growth ambitions through workforce development, by upskilling and reskilling employees.  It is funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of its three-year Skills for Growth programme, funded through the European Social Fund.

While the team of 27 has now completed the challenge, they are still accepting donations to reach their total of £1,500.

Nicolas Williams, Skills for Growth – SME Support Skills Coach and walk organiser, said: “Last month at a networking event I got talking to someone from Depaul about their work and us potentially supporting them.

“I’ve been looking at how we can help to upskill their staff and increase their ability to work effectively with the wider community in Greater Manchester whilst continuing to provide a valuable service to counter youth homelessness. This includes the likes of things like taking on sales and business development training and improving business skills such as leadership and management.

“Alongside this we decided it would be great to take part in the Weighted Walk Challenge to raise some money for this great cause. The idea is that we are carrying the weight so young people at risk of homelessness don’t have to.

“It was a great occasion and I’m delighted with how it went. It was certainly challenging at times and I’m really proud of everyone who took part.

“Thank you to the team who took part and everyone who has supported us and donated so far – it will make a huge difference.”

Lydia Kendall-McDougall, Regional Engagement Officer at Depaul, said: “At Depaul UK, we work with young people who are at risk of homelessness, supporting over 3,000 young people every year. Our vision is of a society where everyone has a place to call home and a stake in their community. We work on the basis that a bed is not enough, so while we run supported accommodation projects for young people, we also focus on prevention work, access to education and work opportunities, mental health support, and independent living skills - all through a person-centred, holistic approach.

“The impact of Skills for Growth – SME Support and the wider team's Weighted Walk fundraising is huge, and has the scope to transform the lives of many vulnerable young people. For instance, it costs £15 to prevent a young person from sleeping somewhere unsafe by matching them with a host from Nightstop, our same-night emergency accommodation service. If this team raise £1500, they could fund 100 nights. That's a quarter of our yearly goal in Manchester!”

 

People can still donate to the team here: Nicholas Williams is fundraising for Depaul UK (justgiving.com)

Businesses that are interested in the Skills for Growth – SME Support programme can find out more here: skillsforgrowthsme.co.uk

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