Collection for Preston Refuge

I recently received an email from a lady from SafeNet who was setting up a run/walk group in the Preston Refuge which helps women, men and children who have suffered domestic violence. There were a few reasons I jumped at the chance to support this. One being, I myself have needed support/advice from the women’s refuge in Lancaster after suffering domestic abuse. Therefore it is important to me that people, especially women, are supported through tough times and are helped to see that these times pass.

Any publicity for places and services like this is all good as sometimes people do not know where to go for help and advice. It is important that these services are talked about and domestic abuse is seen as not something to be shamed about, feel guilty about or feel like they are the only one suffering this. The SafeNet website quotes that ‘Two women every week are killed through domestic abuse’. It is so important that people get help as soon as possible.

The idea of helping to remove one of the barriers to running and exercise in general really appealed to me as it is one of the easiest barriers to remove. Lack of appropriate kit can really discourage someone from starting out, but remove that barrier, give them some training kit, and with a bit of encouragement someone can make the first step to fitness.

Most of us know the huge benefits in mental, emotional as well as physical health, exercise can bring. Through my work I have met many people who have come across difficulties in their lives and have had to have medical intervention in the form of anti depressants or anti anxiety drugs. They have all found the once they are outdoors exercising, even if they are not even running, they start to feel better mentally as well as physically.

I, myself have run through two divorces and the stress of being a single parent and I know that running has played a massive part in helping me deal with stress and anxiety that comes with different life events.

Whether it is running alone in the peace and quiet of the countryside, or chatting socially in a group of like-minded running friends, just getting out there and moving your body has such a feel good factor. Research shows exercise, especially outdoors, can help people with depression or stress because it releases feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins. It can also improve self-esteem, through better body image or achieving goals, as well as relieving feelings of isolation which can come after domestic violence. It can help people out of a rut of poor eating habits and really turn lives around.

So, I asked LWRG for help in donating unwanted running kit, sports bras and trainers to the women who may want to join the refuge running group. I got loads of donations! The lady came to pick it all up this week and I had a sofa worth of bags to give her. It was amazing to have such a great response, thank you to everyone. The SafeNet lady who collected the kit showed her appreciation and will hopefully let me know how the group is getting along. I wish them all the very best.