A Home for London City Runners: Community Impact

Nine marriages. Three babies. Countless friendships.

Improving mental health. Getting over the loss of a loved one. Kicking an unhealthy habit. Starting to exercise for the first time. Finding a base in a city that can sometimes be isolating.

London City Runners can have an immense impact on the lives of those who join. For those whose lives aren’t significantly altered by the club, they are still provided with a great benefit – a place where they can go three times a week to engage in a healthy activity and socialize with other friendly, like-minded people.

Apart from impacting individuals, London City Runners has always done what it can to improve the community around it. This includes getting involved in volunteering at our local Parkrun at Southwark Park or raising money for local charities through bake sales and helping to promote fundraising race places for charities. We also have an excellent track record for getting beginners into running, not only through our successful Couch to 5K Programme, but also because our relaxed and social atmosphere encourages people to join us who may have been intimidated by other, more “serious” clubs. Our club has the unique ability to bring together those from an incredibly diverse range of ages, backgrounds, careers and nationalities in a welcoming and friendly environment.

Our first Couch to 5K cohort and some of our lovely volunteers at the C25K Parkrun graduation. 

And yet, the club has always wanted to do more. However, as the club has been run by volunteers who dedicated their time alongside their full-time jobs, it has always been difficult to take on longer term community impact programmes. Additionally, the lack of our own venue meant that there was never a space to host the events we may have wished to.

The options are endless now that City Runners has a home to call its very own. The venue will give us the time, space and freedom to operate programmes aimed specifically at groups that would not normally join a running club. Therefore we will be working with local community and residents’ groups to run programmes during the day that will target the following groups:

  • Seniors (65+) who want to stay active and meet others in their area
  • Those on benefits or low incomes who would like to be active during the day and network with others
  • Those whose schedule prevents them from joining an evening running group or beginners who wish to gain confidence by attending smaller sessions before joining our main sessions in the evenings
  • People with health conditions or disabilities who would like to be more active

Additionally, our club leadership is looking to form a separate community interest company to help tackle health inequalities in our local area, and ensure that everyone is given equal opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle.

We’ll also now have the freedom to host regular events based from our arch such as “plogging,” a phenomenon which has hit the running community and involves running and picking up litter at the same time!

It is clear that London City Runners have a big heart, and very big plans! With our own venue, we will be able to expand the impact we have on our local community of Southwark, and we hope to become a place where Londoners of all backgrounds will feel welcomed and supported.

However, we cannot do this without your generous support. We ask you to please consider donating to our crowdfunding campaign, and help us make London a healthier place for everyone!

-Natascha Starr

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