London GROW trainee, Liam, is bringing his two passions together again by stepping up from a half to the full London Marathon – this time, for Shelter!
Running for good
Hi, I’m Liam – and I’m the new Getting Real Opportunities of Work (GROW) trainee with the London STAR team (Supporting Tenancies, Accommodation and Reconnections). This year, as well as learning the ropes in my new role, I’ll be taking on another challenge: running the London Marathon! And all the money I raise will go to Shelter.
For those who don’t know, the GROW trainee role is an opportunity for people with lived experience of homelessness to join a Shelter team as a full-time paid employee.
Having been homeless myself, I have a unique insight into how tough it really is out there, and how difficult it can be to find the motivation to make positive changes in our lives. Reaching out for support was hard, but it was the best thing I could have done.
A fresh start
Once I had the support, I then went through a lot of effort to get myself my own place to live. Having a place I could call home gave me the chance to start thinking about my well-being and what I could do to improve it.
That’s when I took up running. Once I felt I was on the right path in my own life, I wanted the opportunity to give back and help people going through similar experiences find a positive way forward.
I started volunteering with Single Homeless Project (SHP). Then I completed its training and became a peer mentor. In 2018, I brought my two passions together and ran a half marathon for SHP.
Volunteering with SHP was a pivotal point in my life, as it led me to Beam. For those that don’t know, Beam is a charity that helps people who are homeless or have experienced homelessness to gain qualifications, so they can find employment and help get their life back on track. Working with my Beam case worker, we laid out a plan and set goals – which in turn led me to the GROW traineeship.
Working alongside experts who are clearly so passionate about the work they do gives GROW trainees the best possible chance of making a difference. For me, this means not only helping to change my own life, but also the lives of the people we support.
I am really excited to be running in the London marathon for Shelter. I’m also running the Vitality Big Half on the 1 March as part of the build-up to the marathon. It shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Well-being and exercise have played a massive part in helping me become the person I am today, and I am very excited about the future.
If you’d like to support me in helping Shelter, you can visit my donation page.