400-mile cycling challenge raises funds for baby hospice in Middlesbrough

Hard working staff and residents at a homeless hostel clocked up 400 miles when they completed a cycling challenge in aid of a baby hospice in Middlesbrough.

The Stages Academy wanted to help Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice after hearing that it was planning to close two nights a week due to lack of funding.

The Stages Academy raises money for Zoe's Place.

Staff at the supported housing service in Middlesbrough decided to do a ‘Tour De Branch’ fundraiser where participants virtually cycle to other Riverside-run services across the North on an exercise bike in their gym. The challenge raised more than £820 and cycled 400 miles – an equivalent distance from Edinburgh to London – taking three days to complete.

Natalie Banks, Specialist Support Worker at The Stages Academy, said “It was great to see everyone getting involved and we were joined by nine customers who together clocked up over 107 miles. We hope the money raised will help the hospice to provide the palliative and respite care to babies and young children with life-threatening conditions.

“We have also signed up to volunteer at their annual Christmas Light Switch-on by helping them put up fairy lights, set up and run the stalls. This will not only get us all in the festive spirit but help the hospice raise much-needed funds.”

From Zoe’s Place Middlesbrough, General Manager Mark Guidery added: “When I heard of the fundraising event the team at The Stages Academy had held for our small hospice I was delighted and moved that a fellow good cause in our area was so motivated to help the small babies and children who attend Zoe’s Place each day.

“The amazing amount raised will help to support our nurses in their work to care for these incredible children and their families. We are indeed lucky and privileged to have such good friends in our local community.”

The Stages Academy raises money for Zoe's Place.

Run by housing association Riverside, The Stages Academy provides safe and supportive accommodation for people aged 16 to 65 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with support needs across Teesside.

One customer, David Kelman, commented it was good that The Stages Academy is getting involved with community events to remove the stigma from supported housing services.

The 45 years old added: “Giving up my time made me feel good as I felt a sense of fulfilment in helping others. I enjoy getting involved and currently volunteer with Foundations.”

Fellow resident Jordan Fleming, 25, added: “I will do anything for a good cause, volunteering my time and getting involved gave me a sense of achievement. Once I have completed my training course I would like to look at volunteering opportunities to help me gain employment. It has also made me want to start using the gym more to improve my fitness and wellbeing.”

Riverside is the third largest provider of homelessness services in the country, and its Care and Support operation works with over 16,000 customers every year.

To find out more about our supported housing services visit: www.riverside.org.uk/care-and-support/supported-living.