14 January 2021
A York schoolgirl is cycling the distance of a marathon to raise money to help young homeless people in the historic city.
Milly, age 11, in Year 7 at The Mount School York, took the initiative after hearing that the school would return to online learning from the start of term. She decided to use her time during the current lockdown and online school to make a difference. “I will be cycling a marathon to try to raise money for Safe and Sound Homes (SASH York) who help homeless young people in the UK to find housing. Over Christmas I noticed the number of homeless people on the streets in the town where I live and thought how hard that must be,” said Milly on her JustGiving page. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruth-thomson14
SASH explains how lockdown exacerbates youth homelessness. “Nearly half of the young people who come to SASH facing homelessness, do so because of family breakdown. Right now, there are young people in our community living in unstable family circumstances, surrounded by abuse – all they have to look forward to once lockdown is lifted, is the dread of being kicked out of their family home or making the impossible decision to flee a toxic environment. Our expert support workers are predicting a rise in the need for our services after lockdown is lifted. We want these young people to know that there is hope and a better life after lockdown. With your help, we can make sure that they have safe home and a bright future.
“Here at SASH we support local young people when they are facing a homelessness crisis. We place young people in the homes of our amazing volunteers hosts and ensure they are safe and sound. (Hence our name SASH-Safe and Sound Homes.) It costs around the £27 mark to support a young person for one night. Every penny raised, by super fundraisers like Milly, really does make a huge difference to local young people,” said Jenna Goodridge, Community Fundraiser at SASH.
Milly, who last year organised a run at school for Comic Relief and has previously taken part in a fundraising running challenge outside of school, said “I’ve currently completed 13.5 miles and have been doing bits on the exercise bike during the breaks” in her lesson timetable. She believes young people can set out to make a difference, “just by thinking about what you can do, and then doing that. Because it doesn’t have to be a very big thing to raise money for charity.”
Milly’s mother, Ruth, said, “This was entirely Milly’s idea. As a parent, it was good to hear that, firstly, Milly noticed the problem, and secondly that she thought, ‘That’s not right and I’d like to do something towards helping’. We talked with her about what she could actually do, what would be sensible, and how to go about it.”
Adrienne Richmond, Principal of The Mount School York, said, “Creating an environment where every girl is valued, enabled to flourish and given the confidence to know they can achieve is at the heart of The Mount School ethos. One of our key aims is to encourage girls to make a positive contribution to our changing world, and Milly’s courageous initiative here is testament to that and reflects our Quaker values of social justice and equality. We are all very proud that Milly has set herself this challenge and I wish her the very best of luck. I hope the wider community will support Milly’s efforts and I look forward to hearing of her success.”