But more often than not on my walk up to the university, I would notice a lone person, lying in an entranceway, huddled under an old sleeping bag. This is the other side to city life. A couple of years ago, there was a television documentary that followed the lives of several homeless people around Britain. Ever since watching this, my eyes have been opened to the perils that some people must endure just to get through daily life. Then, when I embarked on a new adventure outside the confines of my sheltered country life, I came to see ‘real’ versions of this. Everyday, it pained me to see people trying to sell The Big Issue to preoccupied passers-by, or grown men asking me to spare a bit of change. These constant reminders of modern-day suffering in my local city led me to researching homeless charities in Liverpool, wondering what I could do to make a difference.
After asking six of my closest friends, I arranged for us to do charity walk in which we seven would walk through seven villages in our home area of Lancashire - which of course led to the name, ‘The 7 by 7 Challenge.’ The area we planned to walk covered the length of about half a marathon and would take us about four to five hours. In order to boost awareness of our walk, I appealed to The Champion newspaper, who released an article about our challenge on their opening page! Through this publicity, social-media and family donations, we managed to raise £1081.45 which we are so proud of.
Hopefully, this money will really help The Whitechapel Centre and assist someone in getting off the streets and into real housing. Although we can’t change the politics behind homelessness, we can all help in making a difference to those in unfortunate situations.
The walk itself took four and a half hours on Easter Monday 2015. Unfortunately one of the team members was too ill to take part on the day, so in good spirits we decided to encompass two more villages which added extra miles onto our original route. Between chatting and eating our sandwiches, the time passed by quickly and before we knew it, we were nearing our final destination. On arrival at the finishing post, we were greeted by our family and friends to congratulate us. In completing our challenge and raising money, we felt a huge sense of personal achievement.
Having all grown up in a rural area, we were shielded from the distressing plights in our community. Now, as young adults studying in various cities across the country, we are all too aware of the hardships faced by many. By completing ‘The 7 by 7 Challenge,’ we have not only contributed to a worthy cause, but hopefully also raised awareness to those around us. In the future, we all hope to do more fundraising for The Whitechapel Centre for the homeless.