I’m hoping to persuade as many people as possible – both local and distant – to sponsor me as I walk the Suffolk Walking Challenge. This is 100km along the SuffolkCoast from Landguard Point at Felixstowe to Lowestoft. I’m walking this because it is lovely and because its a treat to spend five days on myself – but most importantly in order to raise money for our wonderful Woodbridge youth charity Just 42.
I’m fit, but fat, and I WILL get blisters – but it will be worth it because – as we all know – Just 42 is really quite superb.
Like many of us, I’m an ardent walker – and I love Suffolk’s beautiful open unspoiled countryside. But beautiful open unspoiled countryside has a down-side: small scattered communities and poor transport. This is a particular problem for young people, especially the poorer young people. There is often little on offer locally and it is difficult for them to get elsewhere, particularly if their families are feeling the pinch. Just 42 helps 2,500 young people every year in locations not only within Woodbridge but across 400 sq miles of rural countryside – bringing mobile youth clubs out to places where there is no transport or youth facilities whatsoever.
The young people they support may be dealing with problems such as disaffection, rural isolation, bullying, low self-esteem, special educational needs, drug/alcohol abuse, complex family issues, school exclusion and criminal behaviour.
The results and outcomes are spectacular: engaging 2,500 different young people per year through weekly clubs, sports coaching, mentoring groups and school assemblies. Just 42 embrace the most disadvantaged or excluded, and those with special needs, giving support, advice and help to encourage (often very needy) young people to succeed and fulfil their potential.
I am very proud indeed that the group is based in Woodbridge – but the benefits spread out across Suffolk Coastal – and may alter lives.
Just 42 is not only doing this work well and effectively – it is doing it on a shoestring! After recent cuts Just 42 is the only open-access youth group remaining in our part of Suffolk and its valuable work is funded entirely by donations. People today have many calls on their attention and purse, but this cause is so good, and provides so much support to the future of our county that I very much hope I can persuade you to sponsor me too! I’m walking with Just 42′s fundraiser, Julia Hancock and Celine the dog!
“The more money we raise, the more Just42 will be able to do through their kidz klubz, youth clubs, sport sessions, mentoring, mobile youth centre and holiday clubs,” Julia points out.
Celine – Julia’s 2 year old black Labrador – has unselfishly been helping her train for the event by insisting on long long walks every day. Being the strong silent type, she doesn’t say a word. But if she could speak Celine would say:
“Please could you dig deep and help us help them carry on helping the young people in rural Suffolk”
Alternatively, people can “Text a Tenner” to support Just 42 by texting: FTOL66 £10 to 70070.