Last month, the Stevenage FC Virtual Running Club was launched to keep people fit and active during the COVID-19 lockdown...
During the month of May, the group have been challenged to “Run The Rest”, a collective effort to run the round trip distances to the final four stadiums that Stevenage Football Club were due to visit before the football season was suspended.
Visits to Morecambe FC, Oldham Athletic FC, Macclesfield Town FC and Carlisle United FC were due to take place and would have seen the squad travel a total of 1609 miles or 2590 kilometres by coach.
We have challenged our runners to do this on foot, virtually using the fitness tracker app Strava. The app will track the total distance covered by runners during the month of May as they set out to achieve the 1609 mile target.
The group has been collectively asked to run this distance as a team effort whilst raising as much as they possibly can for two great charities.
All funds raised will be donated to Stevenage FC Foundation (SFCF) and Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse (SADA).
During this pandemic, the Foundation has continued to support the 2,000+ people it engages with on a weekly basis, through online digital sessions, daily challenges, , weekly phone calls and more. As well as working with Stevenage FC on the Coronavirus Community Careline supporting the most vulnerable in our community and our key workers that are tackling COVID-19 on the frontline.
Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse provides practical and emotional support to families and victims of domestic abuse. Whether this by through support in reporting abuse, providing help with challenges faced by victims such as alternative accommodation, legal advice, debt and benefit guidance, additional security in the home or emotional support to the individual and wider family.
Last year there were 1232 recorded domestic abuse offences recording in Stevenage. During this pandemic, the service has already seen a 15% increase in referrals.
SADA also provides training to organisations on how to provide the very best support for victims of domestic abuse. Training that has previously been delivered to SFCF staff.
The aim of the fundraiser is to give both organisations additional funds to expand their work during this pandemic and to address the increased demand on their services to support our local community.
Leader of Stevenage Borough Council and SADA Board Chair, Sharon Taylor OBE has given her support to the fundraiser, saying "Throughout this crisis we have seen the extraordinary community spirit of Stevenage helping our town to get through. Both Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse (SADA) and Stevenage FC Foundation, that our amazing runners are supporting have helped so many local people during this dreadful crisis, we need to help them now to do even more. Please support this fabulous fundraising effort if you are able to do so.
Stevenage FC Foundation Chief Executive, Joe Goude highlights the importance of the fundraiser:
"The Foundation was created to support our community and this pandemic has seen a lot of our community face different, and in some cases, new challenges. During the last six weeks we’ve tried, alongside Stevenage FC, to provide people with different types of support to help them cope, whether that be a friendly ear to speak to, a sandwich to keep them going or some ideas on how to stay physically fit and mentally active. Our Virtual Running Club is full of fantastic people and we hope that their efforts can raise additional funds that allow us to continue to support our community both during and after this pandemic.
"Secondly, we are acutely aware of the challenges that our partners in the town are facing and SADA have provided support to our team in the past through training. We would love to support them by creating more safe spaces for victims of domestic abuse and awareness of their work."