Church Homeless Trust

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A peak performance

Date posted: 11 Jul 2014

Recently residents of Riverside ECHG’s New Beginnings hostel in Doncaster, a scheme for homeless people with a history of drug and alcohol misuse, were able to prove their fitness when several took on the very physical and mental trial of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

The Challenge sees individuals hike for 24.5 gruelling miles over three peaks: Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough in the Pennine range in Yorkshire. A mixture of staff, hostel residents and clients of the New Beginning’s day centre got involved, making a group of 20 daring participants.

Staff and residents arrived at their camp site on a Friday afternoon to glorious, sunny weather. Tents were pitched, food and refreshments were unpacked, and everyone enjoyed a ‘nutritious’ meal of casserole and hotdogs. On the Saturday they were up early to take down tents, pack away the equipment and consume a hearty breakfast before getting going. 

Despite the 7am start, the day was going to be a hot one, so the team set off from the official starting point with sun cream to hand and plenty of water. They quickly broke up in to smaller groups; some individuals had a goal in mind and therefore needed to push on, while others were more keen to keep their own pace and enjoy the scenery. The challenge is to complete the Three Peaks within 12 hours. Although not everyone finished, those that did all managed the 12-hour target, with the fastest time being eight and a half hours.

Some commented that they didn’t realise how hard it would be, with one resident saying they would “prepare better, both mentally and physically, for next time”. Several sounded as if they would be back for more, one saying it was “tough, but I would do it again,” and another adding “next time, more research, more training and some good knee straps”. But the main takeaway was that they took on the challenge and completed a “massive achievement, supported by others”.

The event was part of the hostel’s Five Ways to Wellbeing scheme, which is based around motivating people to ‘connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give’. The residents got to enjoy a physical activity, appreciate the landscape, connect with those around them by offering support and encouragement, and after the event were asked to reflect on their experience.

One client added that it “took me out of my comfort zone and pushed boundaries” – a huge accomplishment. The day ended with some sore feet and a great sense of pride for everyone who took part.

Help us to give more homeless and vulnerable people a chance to push themselves and achieve their dreams.

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