Riverside runners and riders clock up 17,000km and raise £9,000 for Church Homeless Trust

Over 80 staff at Riverside took part in the “Stretch Yourself for CHT” in June, which aimed to raise money for the Church Homeless Trust’s (CHT) emergency Covid fund.

Times are harder than ever for people affected by homelessness. CHT is a small independent charity that raises funds to support homeless people and Riverside staff can apply for grants on behalf of customers.

At the beginning of June we asked staff to set themselves a fitness challenge for the month. Everyone participating donated money towards the emergency Covid fund and shared with family, friends and workmates so they could also show their support.

A huge range of staff got involved – from our Chief Executive Carol Matthews to staff working on our front line services.

The walkers, runners and riders trekked over mountains, cycled huge distances and even ran marathons as part of their challenge.

From Manchester to Sydney

At the end of the month a total of 17,000km (which is the distance between Manchester and Sydney!) has been completed and £9,000 raised for Church Homeless Trust.

Staff got creative with their challenges through the month and highlights included:

– Jenny Crocker (Care and Support Service Manager) ran a marathon around Manchester and the route incorporated 10 Riverside support services and Retirement Living schemes.

– Craig Bond and Pam Hardcastle (from our support services in Wakefield) managed to complete about 10 of their pledged kilometres on outreach engaging with people sleeping rough in the town.

– Anthony Stewart (from our Customer Service Centre) and Mark Abrahart (from our IT team) clocked up some breath taking distances. Anthony finished the month on 1,695km and Mark with 1,734km, which included a 204km cycle round the west coast of Scotland.

David Robinson, Head of Operations for Care and Support, said:

“Being one of the largest providers of homelessness services in the country we know just how hard the pandemic has hit those most in need. When we saw that Church Homeless Trust had started an emergency Covid fund we knew we had to help, so we asked colleagues to show their support while doing a bit to improve their own physical and mental wellbeing.

“This campaign has really captured the imagination of staff. We’ve had colleagues contributing steps, doing star jumps, running marathons – anything to clock up some extra kilometres for the cause. At a really uncertain time for people, this has fostered a great camaraderie between colleagues on our internal social groups, with staff encouraging each other, posting pictures, routes and updates on their progress.

“We originally aimed to complete 10,000km but because the challenge took off we surpassed that with over a week to go. So to finish the month having completed 17,000km is a huge achievement. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and to those who’ve supported us along the way.”

Miriam Morris, Executive Director of Church Homeless Trust, added:

“A huge thank you to everyone at Riverside who took part and helped raise money for homeless people at this time.

“Because of you we have been able to provide much needed food, clothing and entertainment for people who have so very little, to help them to get through lockdown and self-isolation.”

– Our Stretch Yourself for CHT Just Giving page is still open – so if you would like to show your support you can donate

– 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.