With one year to go The HomeRun Project, an innovative scheme which engages with the local homeless community, has the ultimate aim of training participants to race in the 2018 Great North Run.
The project is designed to utilise the benefits of running as a means of boosting the mental health and wellbeing of the homeless population in Calderdale.
The ABS Foundation, the charity arm of Elland-based print specialists ABS UK Ltd, have teamed up with Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) and Calderdale SmartMove to deliver the Home Run Project, which aims to help participants deal with and overcome issues typically associated with homelessness, including alcohol and drug addiction, stress, depression.
There are 12 participants involved in the project since its launch in April 2017 and already they have been making great progress, both in their training and general wellbeing.
Kev Sheils, participant of The HomeRun Project, said: “The Home Run Project is fantastic. I’ve been going every week since it started. I am a recovering addict and now 19 months clean and I was looking for something just like this project to get involved with. It’s given me a goal, something to focus on and has very much increased my fitness to a new level.”
“Training for the Great North Run was never something I would have been able to do but now with the help and support of everyone involved I’m very much ready to run and looking forward to it. I’ve just completed my first 10k race in 55 mins. It really is a great project and I feel proud to be a part of it.”
Training sessions takes place at Calderdale College every Wednesday night, run by local personal trainer Damian Gibson who volunteers his time to the project, and new participants are welcome to join at any time.
David Lees, marketing & CSR Director at ABS UK, said: “We’re delighted to see how much the project has already achieved since its launch 5 months ago. The overall aim is to get as many participants to take part in the 2018 Great North Run but already we’re seeing how valuable the project has become to some of those taking part.”
“Running is a structured discipline that gives a feeling of accomplishment when achieved and we hope these benefits will translate into the participants daily life and they can start to build the future they want by believing in themselves.”
As it begins to get darker and colder, project organisers are currently appealing for donations of suitable running equipment, such as trainers, clothing and hi-vis gear, to help those that are taking part in the project.