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Why I'm taking on the Camino
By George Penny - 3 May 2018
Twenty year old George has thrived since Depaul UK helped him to find accommodation when he was made homeless. Now he’s giving back by walking the Camino de Santiago and raising money to help other young people in his situation.
At 18 I became homeless while I was still at sixth form. I was studying for a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in health and social care and hoped to go on to university. It was a difficult time for me, during which Depaul helped with the fundamental support that helped me get into my own rented accommodation. They provided me with a range of support, from giving me somewhere to stay to helping me to achieve my education goals.
I donated my spare time to volunteer in the coffee room while developing my barista skills and further improving my customer service skills. I am now able to use my own initiative when a problem occurs. For example, if the coffee machine isn’t working, I write a sign to inform customers, apologise and offer alternative hot beverages.
Depaul UK helped over 3,500 people in 2017. Over 900 young people stayed in Depaul supported accommodation, and of those over 75 percent moved on to independent living. It’s not just about housing though, Depaul can also have a positive impact on other aspects of people’s lives. Nearly 100 percent of people helped by Depaul reported a positive change in their education or employment status, and 75 percent had better physical health. I am one of these statistics.
I am now 20 and off to university in October 2018, I’ll be studying Sport Rehabilitation at Middlesex University. I feel it is going to be a positive challenge which will guide me to my career path, which is to be a fully qualified sports rehabilitator under the BASRaT (British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers) regulating body. Without the support I had from Depaul UK, I wouldn’t be on this path, and that’s why I’m raising money to help other young people just like me. This September I’ll be walking more than 100km along the Camino de Santiago, a difficult trek over rough terrain.
I’ll be starting in Sarria and finishing up at the cathedral in Santiago, northern Spain. In total I’ll walk 110km, up to 20km a day, and I’ll be carrying 20kg of equipment and supplies with me. I’m sure it will be a challenge, but with perseverance and hard work, I know I’ll succeed. It'll be worth it because I'll help stamp out homelessness (excuse the pun!)
Depaul UK supports young people aged between 16 and 25 who face homelessness. With your support, Depaul can support more young people in difficult times of need. If you’d like to donate and help me to reach my target of £1,750, you can visit my JustGiving page here. If we all contribute a bit, together we can make a huge difference to thousands of lives. You’ll also be giving me the motivation to carry on!