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Home run for Calderdale’s homeless

Homeless people in Calderdale are being encouraged to get running in an effort to improve their mental health and well-being.

The ABS Foundation, the charity arm of Elland-based printing firm ABS UK, has teamed up with Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) and Calderdale SmartMove to deliver the Home Run Project.

The scheme, launched at Calderdale College, aims to help participants deal with and overcome issues typically associated with homelessness, including alcohol and drug addiction, stress, depression.

The Project has the ultimate aim of training participants to race in the 2018 Great North Run.

“It was a privilege to attend the launch event of The Home Run Project and witness the start of what I am confident will be a great journey for the participants,” said Councillor Howard Blabrough, Mayor of Calderdale.

“I’d like to commend ABS for this wonderful initiative, and express my admiration for all of those who have made financial donations and given up their time to support the Project.”

John Lees, managing director and founder of ABS, added: “Following months of planning, we’re delighted to have been able to finally kick things off with the launch at Calderdale College.

“We’d like to thank those who have already made donations to support the cause, and encourage those that would like to make a positive contribution to what we are trying to achieve by getting in touch. Anything from unwanted trainers to old running vests would be gratefully received.”

The ABS Foundation has made a donation of £9,000 to support the initial aims of the project, which is being implemented in conjunction with Calderdale SmartMove, a local charity that assists homeless and vulnerably housed people to find accommodation in Calderdale.

In addition to the Mayor of Calderdale, the project’s launch was also attended by team building expert Martin Haigh of Lattitude7, who joined ABS staff members and the project’s first 12 participants.

The runners received trainers, clothing and other equipment to assist them with their training and were mentored by members of Northowram Pumas running club.

Staff volunteers from ABS UK have also ‘buddied up’ with participants and will train alongside them in the weeks ahead.

Safe and warm training facilities were provided by Calderdale College, who have provided further support by producing training plans for participants. T-shirts and bags were donated free of charge by Calder Screenprint.

Martin Haigh, founder and director of Lattitude 7, said: “It was incredibly uplifting to be present at the launch and to talk to the potential runners who expressed interest in taking up the sport. These runners received a pair of trainers, a t-shirt and a copy of our running book to start them on their journey.

“I wish the team well and, as a UK Athletics leader in Running Fitness, I am pleased to be a Running Buddy to guide some of the Home Run runners along their journey towards completing a half marathon next year.”

The Home Run Project is on Twitter @HomeRun_Project


Photo: Mayor of Calderdale Councillor Howard Blagbrough is joined by Home Run Project coaches, volunteers and participants at the inaugural training session

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