Sunderland runners race to raise crucial funds for Samaritans after urgent appeal
A charity relay race - with no social contact - will take place this weekend to raise much needed funds for the Samaritans.
Last week the Echo reported that the city’s branch of mental health charity Samaritans was in urgent need of donations to ensure volunteers can continue to support people struggling to cope during this ‘crucial time’.
After reading the story, Grangetown resident Rachel Stephenson put her best foot forward to do what she could to help.
More than 20 people have now signed up to take part in her 5K relay event, set to take place on Saturday, May 2.
The race was inspired by the Run for Heroes campaign, recently doing the rounds on social media, which sees runners complete 5K and donate £5 to NHS charities.
“I was thinking about the recent 5k nomination run we’ve all been participating in and how can we now help a charity in our local area by doing exactly the same thing,” said Rachel, 27.
“Now that everyone’s able to run - or walk - 5K I wanted to organise an event that supports this amazing charity and keeps everyone active.”
The event will see one person at a time complete the route, which will start and finish outside the Albion pub, on the Village Green, in Ryhope.
A donation of £5 is required to run and each person will be given a time slot staggered throughout the day to ensure compliance with Government guidelines.
Over one third of the Samaritans volunteers are having to self-isolate due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the number of calls the branch is receiving has increased during recent weeks.
“This is a very lonely time for anyone but if you truly are alone, charities like the Samaritans can help in these desperate times,” added Rachel.
“It breaks my heart to think of people who don’t have anyone at all.”
Suzanne Armitage, director of Samaritans of Sunderland, commented: “We are so very grateful for the support that we are getting from the public which is allowing us to stay open in this time of crisis, while all our usual avenues of outreach fundraising are closed to us.”
To donate visit www.samaritans.org/branches/sunderland