Glaswegians urged to get outdoors to help city’s homeless

The Big Arran Challenge has raised thousands for the Glasgow City Mission
The Big Arran Challenge has raised thousands for the Glasgow City Mission

A homeless charity is urging members of the public to get on their bikes, or pull on their hiking boots to raise vital funds for their work in Glasgow.

The Big Arran Challenge will see participants climb the island’s tallest mountain Goatfell before cycling 57 miles around Arran’s stunning coastline.

For those preferring a slightly smaller Big Challenge, cycle-only or hike-only options also exist.

The event is now its fifth year and has raised thousands of pounds for Glasgow City Mission who work with people in the city battling homelessness, poverty and social isolation. Money raised from the event will fund its vital evening drop-in work where people can receive a hot meal and much needed help and advice.

John is one of the charity’s regulars who has been helped significantly since becoming homeless.

He said: “I’m staying in a hostel. I’ve not got much for food. The staff are nice here, they’re friendly.”

“When you have no home, no family nearby and little money, something as simple as providing good food in a safe and welcoming environment makes a significant difference” explains Graham Steven, Partnerships & Communications Manager.

“But more than that, our fundraisers and supporters enable us to spend quality time with people at our evening drop-in, building trusted relationships, tackling the underlying issues and helping people to move forwards once again. It’s a vital service used by over 100 people each day.

“Big Arran Challenge is one of our most popular fundraising events. As well as providing a lot of fun and a great day out, the money raised makes a big difference to those in need in our city; those who have hit rock bottom.

“Homelessness and poverty are issues that continue to blight our city. People can find themselves homeless for a variety of reasons: relationship breakdown or instances of abuse can lead to isolation, mental health issues or addictions and a downward spiral follows.

“People regularly ask ‘how can I help the homeless?’ – taking part in the Big Arran Challenge is one way. It enables Glasgow City Mission to meet vulnerable people’s immediate needs like food or advice and connect them to our programme of daytime activities which seeks to break this downward spiral of poverty and instead help people to move forwards once again with their lives.”

Big Arran Challenger Dan said: “I’ve volunteered at Glasgow City Mission. I’ve seen the change the mission can help bring around. That’s the best thing. The Big Arran Challenge is a great event and a great day; you’ll push yourself and it’s a great cause to support. Definitely do it.”

The Big Arran Challenge will take place on Saturday 12 May 2018. In return for sponsorship and a £35 registration fee, participants will receive their ferry ticket, refreshments, hot showers and bike support team.

For more information and to sign up, see www.glasowcitymission.com or call 0141 221 2630.