The Three Peaks: Why I’ve chosen to walk a mile in their shoes


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In less than a week, I’ll be donning my hiking boots and setting off to conquer the Yorkshire Three Peaks. I’ll spend the day walking over 25 miles and taking on three of Yorkshire’s biggest hills, all to raise much needed funds for Simon on the Streets.

To say I’m nervous is an understatement. It’s an intimidating challenge – almost 26 miles with an elevation higher than Ben Nevis. But I’m also excited. I can’t think of a better way to honour my first year at Simon on the Streets. I’m eager to do my bit and support the amazing work my team do. Let me tell you why.

Why I’ve chosen to walk the three peaks

This challenge is the perfect way to mark my first year as CEO at Simon on the Streets. But it’s also an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, raise much needed funds and walk in the shoes of the people we support.

I ask a lot of you.

Sleepouts, sleep ins and various other fundraisers – I know I ask a lot of you, our amazing supporters. We challenge you to raise funds to ensure we can continue to provide homeless people with the support we need. And you always pull through. I am truly grateful.

Well, I want to get involved too. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. By taking on this challenge, I can lead by example and help raise funds for our work, which I wholeheartedly believe in.

Walking is often the only option for people we support.

It is surprising how far people experiencing homelessness walk every day. With no money and no alternative, it’s their only option. And it shouldn’t be that way. On average, homeless people can walk anywhere up to 20 miles a day, walking from soup kitchens to day centres and appointments at different services.

I was recently out in the evening with one of my outreach workers, offering support to people sleeping rough. We came across a gentleman who had been out all day in the rain, walking. His trainers were soaked, he had sores on his feet and had walked so much it hurt to stand. We offered to help him into emergency accommodation. His face instantly lit up. He was excited to rest his feet for the night. While I cannot walk in his shoes, the least I can do is walk to raise funds to support him and our other clients.

We need funds.

This challenge is a chance to raise funds and awareness of homelessness for my team. My team know that with the covid-19 restrictions lifted, homelessness is going to increase. The amount of households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness already increased by 7% at the start of this year. And that’s before the eviction ban and furlough scheme ended. With more job losses predicted, immigration rules changing to make rough sleeping grounds to cancel someone’s right to remain in the UK, and the universal credit uplift set to expire, we expect even more people are going to need our support.  We’re really need all the donations we can get to support people pushed into poverty.

I’m choosing to walk a mile in the shoes of the people we support. Whilst this challenge is in no way comparable to what those who are homeless face, it is chance to show my support for our clients. Knowing what our team do, and how much we need funds, will motivate me throughout this challenge.

This is where I ask something of you. Can you sponsor me to walk the three peaks? Any donation, no matter how big or small, means the absolute world. No penny will be wasted. Your donations will go towards supporting the homeless and vulnerable. 

Natalie, CEO.

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