#TheLongestNight Launchpad charity challenge

Our Berkshire Nordic walking community have a strong sense of duty, support and care to not just each other but to others. We have set a few challenges in the past to help those in need and you have all gone beyond the “call of duty”. So, for this Christmas, at a time of giving, we’d like appeal to your charitable heart and ask that you get involved with our biggest challenge to date. What’s in it for you? Apart from knowing you’ve helped another person or a family, you could have a calorie-free Christmas and enjoy a guilt free festive feasting. Oh, there’s a sense of irony there! You may also recall that part of the Christmas story, there was no room at the Inn, although shelter was found in a barn. Read on…

There are many faces of homelessness from rough sleepers to families crammed in to temporary poor quality B&Bs or individuals relying on a friend’s floor or sofa. They are all without a home of their own. Some people are easy to help; others are very hard to help. Behind every individual there’s a hidden story. Last year Launchpad helped over 1,200 people across all of their services.

Homelessness is a complicated issue. It has no single cause and no single solution. Launchpad helps prevent homelessness in Reading and are also answering many questions to help us understand how we can help and what really hinders and prevents their success.

Three of the key services are the Floating Support, The Drop in Centre and Housing support. They try to not overlap the services of other charities that provide emergency housing, or food hand out’s, or the widely known Soup Kitchens, for example. Instead they compliment the services. They also have specialist support staff too, working across all of the services and the whole Reading homelessness service; with St Mungo’s and at the hub at the Salvation Army.You can read more here.

Giving money to beggars is deemed an ill advised practice and doesn’t help to resolve the issues. But we are human and often it tugs at our heart strings to see some one in need. There is also a social stigma about street begging.

Begging and rough sleeping aren’t necessarily the same. The majority of people in Reading who beg aren’t homeless. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. In most cases they do.

So how can we help the Homeless?

At a time of giving, the start of the Christmas holiday season, we’d like to set a sponsored challenge to raise vital funds for Launchpad to continue their superb work of helping those who find themselves without a roof over their head. Rather than give money directly to an individual, let’s put it to use.

#TheLongestNight challenge will be open to Nordic walkers, walkers, runners..anyone who would like to get involved. This can also be a virtual event and doesn’t have to take place at our chosen venue.

Some of you will recall that for Christmas 2017, on the 21st December, the Longest Night, Janine waddled on a treadmill for 12 hours whilst her friends ran from Dusk to Dawn, for the charity Shelter.

The challenge this year is for you to complete laps of Prospect Park (venue still to be confirmed) from approximately 4.30pm until 6.30am.

You can also commit to doing anything from 1 lap to a 100, or for an hour or more.

This is not just a physical challenge but a mental challenge too; literally putting you in the shoes of a person who is made more vulnerable through homelessness.

There is a group Just Giving page and we would ask that you share that or create an individual one from that so we are all part of the same big hearted team raising £2,112 (the date!!)

For our local Berkshire team please register in advance here.

The Just Giving page Link is here (TBC)

Please note: all people undertaking the #TheLongestNight Challenge, whether with our local Berkshire event or elsewhere, do so at their own risk. We do not accept any responsibility for any accidents, incidents or mishaps arising. Please do participate responsibly and do not put yourself at risk. Make sure you have a home contact and some one is aware if what you are doing, where and how long. Ensure you are physically fit and have the appropriate kit to undertake your challenge. If you are outdoors please do dress for the weather and be prepared for conditions changing.

The ethos of Launchpad is about the support they give to so many people, in so many walks of life from homeless people on the streets to single mums and families struggling with housing, is amazing. The care they give is holistic with mental health support, education, careers, funding, council advice, more besides, and they do all with genuine care and professionalism.

Their vision

Launchpad wants every person in Reading to have their own home and the opportunity for a positive future.

Their mission

We house, support and empower vulnerable people in Reading so they can transform their lives, get back on track and fulfil their potential.

Every person who turns to us for help is different, facing unique challenges. We provide support on an individual basis, always considering the best way to help in each situation.

How will they achieve those aims?

These are the tangible things they do to help people in Reading:

  • Provide decent, safe accommodation
  • Provide high-quality, individually-tailored support
  • Help people become active in their local community
  • Raise awareness of homelessness in Reading
  • Work productively with other local agencies and organisations

Read more here.


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