Homeless Fund: Ten exclusive places in London Marathon on offer in our charity appeal

Runners will receive a 'green start' alongside celebrities and veterans such as Kelly Holmes

Naomi Ackerman
Thursday 02 January 2020 13:35 GMT

Ten places for this year’s London Marathon are being offered to Independent readers to raise funds for our homeless appeal.

The runners, who will support The Independent’s Homeless Fund, will receive a sought-after “green start” place, beginning the event with celebrities and other dignitaries including Dame Kelly Holmes, EastEnders actor Jake Wood and Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown.

The 10 readers selected will form a Marathon Team for The Independent and our sister title the Evening Standard, with each member having their progress, from fundraising to the finish line, covered by our titles.

Our runners will need to commit to raising £5,000 for the Homeless Fund appeal. Each will receive fundraising support and a free fitness session with London Marathon fitness guru Martin Yelling.

An estimated 280,000 people were rough sleeping or living in hostels this Christmas in England, according to the latest analysis of official figures from Shelter. In London more than 16 households in every 1,000 are in temporary accommodation, latest government figures show. This means thousands of children are homeless, even if they are not visible on the streets. Using appeal money, the London Homeless Collective (LHC), a coalition of 23 charities delivering direct services to people sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness in London, will work to target the worst gaps in provision.

Former Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity contestant Adele Roberts – who has completed the marathon twice – urged people to apply for the one-off places.

She said: “It is a fantastic opportunity from The Independent to give people the chance to run the marathon to help London’s homeless. There is no event like the London Marathon: the whole capital seems to get together to either compete or wish the runners to the finish line. The fact that this spirit will also be helping some of the most vulnerable people in London must be commended. This initiative will mean runners speeding down the streets will be helping those who have no choice but to live on them.”

Our partner charities also called on runners to enter and make a difference to homeless people. Paul McKenzie, executive director of fundraising at London-based youth homelessness charity Depaul, said: “The London Marathon is an amazing opportunity to take part in a truly iconic event and make a life-changing difference to people across the capital. By running in support of the LHC, you will be contributing to ending homelessness in our city and running for those who need the greatest support.”

Virgin Money Giving and Virgin Money London Marathon donated the places.

To apply for one of the 10 places in our Homeless Fund marathon team, an application form can be found here.

All entries must be received by 6pm on 8 January. To secure your place after being chosen by ESI Media, a registration fee must also be paid, with all monies going to the Homeless Fund. Entries are non-transferable. Participants must be over 18 on race day, complete their registration within the entry console before it closes and agree to the general conditions of entry.

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