Why this Sunderland business boss needs your support at the city’s 10k race

Sharon Boyd, CEO of Impact Northeast.
Sharon Boyd, CEO of Impact Northeast.

“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel - have the strength to keep going through the darkness.”

This is the message Sharon Boyd is trying to spread through her work with Impact Northeast, an organisation dedicated to providing support for the region’s young people.

Thomas Ferry from Southwick with his dad and Lea Cole, business manager at Impact. The organisation provided equipment for him to practice and compete in sport.

Thomas Ferry from Southwick with his dad and Lea Cole, business manager at Impact. The organisation provided equipment for him to practice and compete in sport.

Set up by Sharon in 2013, Impact is based in Hendon and works to support vulnerable children experiencing problems with their mental health.

To spread the word and raise some money, Sharon will be lacing up her trainers this weekend to take on the Sunderland 10k. She hopes to raise £1,000.

She told the Echo: “It’s just trying to get people to understand what we do and that we are there to help children and young people.”

Inspired by her own childhood struggles, Sharon wanted to create an organisation where the door is always open and help is always available.

Sharon Boyd and her team as they won Employer of the Year at the Echo Portfolio Awards in 2016. They were also a finalist in 2017.

Sharon Boyd and her team as they won Employer of the Year at the Echo Portfolio Awards in 2016. They were also a finalist in 2017.

As well as supporting young people first-hand, Impact takes an approach which benefits the whole family by offering bespoke support packages across a range of issues including drug and alcohol support, anger management and bereavement.

One-to-one and group counselling sessions are also available, as are mentoring opportunities.

The organisation has no core funding and relies on the work of volunteer counsellors to continue its mission.

Since its launch, thousands of families have been supported by its services. There are currently 297 open cases on Impact’s books.

Runners taking part in the 2018 Sunderland 10k.

Runners taking part in the 2018 Sunderland 10k.

Sharon continued: “People can have a different ending to their story, regardless of how their story began.

“We are helping people to see that they can achieve something.”

The Sunderland 10k sets off at 10am on Sunday, May 12. The race both starts and finishes at the city’s Keel Square.

Sharon’s colleagues from Impact will be there on the day to cheer her along - and you can too.

Children from Grangetown Primary School dress yellow for mental health through working with Impact.

Children from Grangetown Primary School dress yellow for mental health through working with Impact.

She added: “It’s a bit like life, it’s difficult but I will get to the finish line.

To donate to Sharon’s appeal, visit her fundraising page here. For more information about Impact Northeast and its work, visit the website here.