So I recently completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, which involved walking up and down three huge mountains, 24 miles, in less than 12 hours. It’s safe to say that it broke me. I could not walk the next day (to be fair I could barely walk at the end of the first peak…). Why would anyone put themselves through this ordeal, I hear you cry! Well I suppose there are those who do it for the rush, the adrenaline, the fitness, but for me, I wanted to complete it in order to raise money for the Whitechapel Centre.
The Whitechapel Centre is a Liverpool based charity which aims to help people who are living on the streets. It provides a huge variety of care, from showers, warm food and blankets for the winter, to housing advice and lessons for basic skills needed for employment.
Homelessness is almost a taboo topic, with a huge amount of controversy surrounding it.
Homeless people are:
*Selfish children who have run away from home
*Those too stupid or lazy to get a job
*Drug addicts and alcoholics
*Frauds who actually live in nice houses with their families
*Smelly and crazy
These are just a few of the stereotypes some of my friends have about the homeless. Of course, in some cases these assumptions are true, unfortunately that means that individuals who are suffering trough no fault of their own are mushed into that group and do not receive the help they deserve.
I too struggle to sympathise with people living on the streets, and more often than not, I refuse to give any money to beggars. I worry that they’ll spend it on alcohol or drugs, there are a number of issues in my home town involving the homeless leaving used needles in baby changing rooms after shooting up. In addition, when I have given them some spare change in the past, I haven’t even received a thank you, merely a sneer as if to ask why I didn’t give more. I know this doesn’t reflect every single person living on the streets, but it creates a stereotype which is hard to shake.
I wish I could ignore all the rumours and prejudices which fly around, but I cannot and so I can’t always support these people, despite their obvious vulnerability.
However, I was proud to raise money for the Whitechapel Centre, because they can help those who truly do need their care and attention, and make sure that they can grow and strive for a better life.
If any of my few readers are interested in sponsoring me for my success in completing the challenge and would like to support a good cause, here’s a link to my just giving page, any donation would be greatly appreciated!