Well I got along to the Welcome Centre last night and met with the centre manager Karen to discuss the idea of me raising money for the work they do. The whole meeting lasted about an hour and was really productive and gave me a great insight into what they do and how they help in the community, so that said I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on it and update things a bit.
So first off I think I should mention that the centre is independent and not linked to the Trussell trust as many are. It has been going in one form or another for around 20 years so you can imagine from this they have some deep roots in the community and some excellent links and an even better reputation with a lot of other support networks and agencies in the area which has left them in a fairly unique position.
As an organisation they don’t just distribute food packages to those that need them but also provide clothing, bedding, toiletries, kitchenware and most importantly, I think, advice to people. They also don’t follow the Trussell norm of their packages covering 3 days of supplies but instead bolster things up to last longer and also take account of an individual’s need, tailoring their supplies accordingly. So for example they won’t give food that needs cooking to those that don’t have an oven at home and they make sure that the food tallies with the individuals religious beliefs or dietary needs, all things that only happen when you really start to think about the individual as a person and not just as a “commodity” requiring a “unit” of help.
Karen also told me how busy they have been and not just for the Christmas period where you might expect it but over a long period of time now. Like the Trussell trust they also compile statistics on why people have been referred to them and mirroring the Trussell statistics they are seeing an ever rising number of people quoting problems, delays and other issues with an altered benefits system. However it’s not all doom and gloom as Karen told me how they have a rotating staff of around 40 volunteers working alongside their full time staff so that on any day there are around 8 people in the centre working hard to make up packs and help with the running of things. She also told me how many of the people that do help were at one time on the other side of the counter and received assistance themselves which I think is a great show of how friendly and open the centre is and how it can help people in the long term and not just as a stop gap.
I can’t easily detail everything that the centre does in a single post so I want to try and keep coming back to it through my posts as a sort of rolling update and because Karen has said she will forward on some facts and figures I am hoping I can use these to good effect.
So that aside some of the ideas we talked about were very encouraging and I think could add a lot to the impact of the event and the fundraising around it, so expect a facebook page about the event to pop up soon as well as some photos of me training (apologies in advance for the lycra!) and very soon a Just Giving page so that I can work from a central point to raise money.
As well as that Karen is going to get in touch with a few local businesses and see if there is the possibility of corporate sponsorship while I’ll be doing the same and putting together a newsletter/introduction to who I am, what it’s all about and why I’m doing it so that hopefully any request for help will have a bit more impact.
So all of that side of things is really kicking off now which is great.
Flipping over to the training part of things again though this week has seen me trying to get into a swing of doing about an hour of exercise every day and as of Friday afternoon it seems I can still walk so that’s positive!
Monday was four rounds of upper body tabata in the morning and an hour of circuits in the evening
Tuesday was a legs tabata session in the morning and a lunchtime 40 min run round Hollingworth Lake
Wednesday was core tabata in the morning and an hour of circuits in the evening followed by 2 hours of medieval training
Thursday was back to the upper body tabata session in the morning and a lunchtime 40 min run
Friday was tabata legs and a lunchtime run
And although it’s not going to feature as a regular thing this Saturday I’m going for a long walk with a friend in North Yorkshire, we’re camping up and sleeping rough over night and walking back the next day so we’ll see how that goes.
As yet I haven’t managed to get any swimming in since my abortive 15 minute swim in Gaddings Dam in December. I had planned my own mini triathlon before Christmas but I didn’t quite anticipate the effect that 15 minutes in open water (which was only about 3-4oC) would have on me when only wearing swimming shorts, a compression top and wetsuit gloves. So after I got out and warmed up enough to feel my feet again I sloped off home instead of getting on my bike. With that experience behind me I think I will be leaving open water swimming until the clocks change but in the mean time I am going along with a friend to Brighouse pool next week, she is a very good swimmer who used to compete so I’m hoping she can give me a few technical pointers as this is the part of the event I’m probably most worried about.
Beyond that some of the guys that I did the ride from Liverpool to Leeds with last year are planning a day out on the bike cycling to Manchester and back which should be about 50 miles, I think that will probably be the next chance I get to take to the peddles but again after the clocks change I am hoping to get some more miles in by cycling to work and a back.
So that’s all for now I think but updates and many more links will be following soon!