Wednesday 20 August 2014

New Year's resolution sees Laura running to the beat

aaEmmaus UK Laura Berman Farrells Communications Coordinator Run to the Beat 140820

Growing up in South London, homelessness has never been far from Laura Berman’s door, with the high rate of homelessness and rough sleepers in the capital. Inspired by people that she met who'd experienced homelessness in their lives and moved by the stories her uncle told of working in the homelessness sector she decided to set herself some personal resolutions.

The first was to find a volunteering position with a homelessness charity. She explains:

“Being brought up in a city like London it is common to see people out on the streets, begging and sleeping rough. Even as a young girl I remember thinking that it was unfair - I’ve always felt that everyone should have a roof over their heads - but it is often hard to know how you can really help or make a difference.

After volunteering with Crisis at Christmas in 2013, I was really keen to find a more regular volunteering position in 2014 – and a few months ago I spotted Emmaus Lambeth on Twitter and tweeted them asking if they needed volunteers. The model that Emmaus works with is really interesting – not only do people have as much time as they need to get back on their feet, but they also have the opportunity to learn new skills while they do it, in a safe and constructive environment.

I try to help out at Emmaus Lambeth regularly and there is a wide range of things to do as a general volunteer, from working in the clothes shop and furniture boutique to sorting stock and cleaning. I’m really looking forward to helping out in the kitchen too!

Another goal I set for this year was to try and get fit. Last year, I took part in the Race for Life – but I walked it because I didn’t feel able to run the 5km distance. It really bothered me because I used to dance a lot and play netball at school and I was a pretty shocked that in only a few years my fitness had really declined. I decided that by this summer I needed to be able to run 5km.

By June I felt I was doing quite well, so I started looking for a 10km race to run in the autumn to give myself a real challenge. I needed something that would push me to start racking up the miles. When I found the Run to the Beat 10k I thought it was perfect for me as it combines a live music and DJs with the race. 

Although I train wearing headphones when I’m on my own, I’m not sure that I would like to run a race with thousands of runners all plugged in - it seems a bit anti-social. With Run to the Beat, which takes place in Wembley Park, it will feel like we are at a big music festival and keeping fit at the same time.

I always run with music unless I am out training with friends and I tend to listen to bands like London Grammar and Haim, but I was told that these are too chilled out if I want to up my pace. It will be amazing to run a race and have live music and DJ acts – Run to the Beat has had some amazing DJs and singers play in the past, so I am really looking forward to the line-up this year. I’m actually a bit of a secret Garage fan, so if someone like Miss Dynamite plays that would make my day.

I would definitely recommended Emmaus as a charity to sponsor for anyone doing a race or fundraising in any way. It is a great motivator to know that you are helping put a roof over someone’s head, helping them get out of the cycle of homelessness and take control of their future.”

You can sponsor Laura via her JustGiving page.

 If you would like to join Laura at Run to the Beat, Emmaus has eight spare places – get in touch with Ruby Dickens on 01223 379262 for more information.

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