‘I passionately believe that we can all pull together to try and put an end to chronic rough sleeping.’

Meet Con, who will be fundraising for us by participating in the Vitality 10,000 for us this month.

‘In 2015 I experienced chronic rough sleeping as a result of depression, addiction and a total loss of self-esteem. I lost my job, my family, my friends and everything that I valued in my life. It was while I was rough sleeping, that I became unwell and after several visits to the hospital, I was diagnosed with cancer and poor physical and mental health.

After the diagnosis, I slept rough for a further month. During this time, I felt more scared and lonely than I have ever felt in my life and reached out for help and support. I received the assistance I needed to become sober, to get off the streets and receive medical treatment for my cancer as well as other health issues.

Two years on I am now volunteering for several charities around London to help end chronic street homelessness and support vulnerable people.

One of those is Evolve Housing + Support, who are the leading charity for a campaign called ‘CR Zero 2020’, which aims to end chronic street homelessness in Croydon by 2020. Since I heard about CR Zero 2020, I have taken part in two Connections Weeks in 2016 and 2017. I am also member of the Community Group that meets every two months. I have been able to use my experience of homelessness and rough sleeping to contribute to the CR Zero 2020 campaign.

Since I am now in a position to improve my health and fitness because of overcoming my cancer and health issues, I have decided to run the Vitality London 10,000. The money I raise will go towards providing accommodation and support services for chronic rough sleepers at Evolve.

Before choosing to run for Evolve in the Vitality 10,000, the only other challenge events I participated in were sponsored cycling events e.g. London to Southend in 2008, but this is the first time that I have taken part in a challenge event in order to raise money for a charity.

Since I decided to run for Evolve, I have been trying to train three times a week for the last five weeks, and despite challenges around my health, I have been making progress. Every time I train, I am able to go further and faster. I am getting stronger day by day. It’s not the quickest time I am after, it enough of a milestone for me to achieve 10km, when as little as a few months ago I struggled to walk even one km!

The support I have had from the Fundraising Team has been excellent, as always, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to run for such a great cause. Homelessness is rising at epidemic levels. But I passionately believe that we can all pull together to try and put an end to chronic rough sleeping.’

If you would like to support Con as he runs to support our work with homeless people in London, please click here.

If you would like to find out more about CR Zero 2020, our campaign to end chronic street homelessness in Croydon by 2020, please click here.

If you would like to donate to our CR Zero 2020 Housing First campaign, please click here.

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