Big-hearted sponsored walkers raise £1,605 for Emmaus Village near Bedford

Walkers were granted exclusive access through private ground on the Southill Estate
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Compassionate fundraisers put their best feet forward to help homelessness charity Emmaus Village Carlton support rough sleepers by raising £1,605 for its Rucksack Stomp.

Volunteer, Nicole Murray, who has been helping out at the charity's Bedford Rucksack Stomp, stepped things up a gear by organising a sponsored walk on Sunday to support the ongoing appeal, raising £1,105 which was boosted by £500 of match-funding.

The walkers were granted exclusive access through private ground on Southill Estate for an afternoon stroll around Southill Lake, a distance of around 5km, followed by a hot dog and mulled wine at Southill Park Cricket Club.

Great team effort! Pictured are the sponsored walkers with Christian (far right).Great team effort! Pictured are the sponsored walkers with Christian (far right).
Great team effort! Pictured are the sponsored walkers with Christian (far right).

Nicole said: “The aim was to raise £500 to support the ‘Rucksack Stomp’ which takes place every week where volunteers seek out those in need in our community and offer food, hot drinks and support.

"I’ve been on the Rucksack Stomps a few times and really like what they do. I spoke to Christian who told me all about the Rucksack Stomps and I started going along and helping out a little bit on a Tuesday. I just thought I’d do what I could. The wholesale company Bookers also kindly gave me a £50 food credit to spend on items for the Stomp.”

With a £10 per person donation from friends who too part, there was also a charity raffle including prizes of a case of wine and a gift set of premium skincare and make up goodies, with an estimated value of around £350-£400. Raffle tickets were £5 each.

Rucksack Stomp organiser, companion Christian Coley, who joined the fundraisers on the day, said: “A huge thank you to the wonderful people who raised such a great amount for the Rucksack Stomp. I applaud you all!”

Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp. Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp.
Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp.

Christian did a presentation to the two groups which prompted lots of additional donations throughout the day. Feedback was excellent from those who attended as they appreciated being able to chat to Christian, who himself was homeless for two years before joining Emmaus Village Carlton. Listen to his story on YouTube.

Nicole has also enlisted the support of Bedford School in De Parys Avenue whose pupils have kindly donated warm items such as sleeping bags and gloves to Christian and the Rucksack Stomp team.

The Rucksack Stomp received another boost just a few days before the sponsored walk when High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Milan Shah, visited the outreach team in Northampton and Wellingborough.

He was interested to learn all about the work carried out by a group of our formerly homeless companions, supported by staff, trustees and supporters, who give up their time to support vulnerable people every week.

Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp. Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp.
Christian, Milan, Jason and Kingsley at the Stomp.

Spearheaded by our companion Christian Coley, our Rucksack Stomps are run by a group of our formerly homeless companions who volunteer in Bedford, Northampton and Wellingborough town centres every week, offering help to those sleeping rough.

Commenting on Milan’s visit, Companion Christian said: “Thanks so much to Milan Shah for joining us in Northampton and Wellingborough last week, it was great to have his support and to show him how we’re supporting people on the streets.

“Thanks also go to Nicole the wonderful volunteer and fundraiser for supporting the stomp in Bedford and for her on-going help which is making a huge difference. A big shout-out to the kind lady at our Bedford stomp for the absolutely tasty samosa and onion bhajis she brought to us. What a wonderful human being!”

Trustee, Dean Bourke said: “A huge thanks to High Sheriff of Northamptonshire Milan Shah for listening with interest and compassion to the comments and stories of our companions and visitors, promising help and support wherever possible. We really appreciate your support.”

*If any other organisations are considering supporting Emmaus Village Carlton and would like to book a talk from Christian who can explain about his own experience with homelessness and how the charity turned his life around, email: [email protected] or call us on 01234 720826.

If you would like to help the appeal with donations of essential items listed below, drop them off from Wednesday – Saturday, 10am – 4.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm at the Emmaus Village Carlton reception in the Dom Gregory building, School Lane, Carlton MK43 7LQ. Ring 01234 720826 for more details.

  • Sleeping bags
  • Thermal gloves
  • Men’s socks
  • Thermal survival blankets
  • New underwear
  • 2-person tents
  • Winter hats/scarves
  • Flasks
  • Wet wipes/toiletries
  • Non-perishable foods such as Pot Noodles/cereal bars/chocolate/cup-a-soup
  • Coffee shop vouchers

Anyone wishing to support the work of the Emmaus Village Carlton Rucksack Stomp financially, you can donate to the appeal here To support the appeal through Amazon Wishlist donations, click here