Kiltwalkers take on challenge for the Haven in Forth
A small army from the Haven took part in this year's Edinburgh Kiltwalk.
And while it is not yet known how much has been raised, the 73-strong team are hoping to have amassed a similar amount to that raised in Glasgow in April.
A team of 97 took part in the city’s Kiltwalk and raised £23,152 for the Haven’s centres in Forth, Wishaw and Blantyre.
Some 18 members of staff and clients from the Haven in Forth travelled through to Edinburgh on September 16 with colleagues and friends from the charity’s other two Lanarkshire centres.
And each and every one of the 73 walkers completed their challenge – be that the Wee Wander (five miles), Big Stroll (15.5 miles) or Mighty Stride (24 miles).
It is fundraising efforts like the Kiltwalk which help the Haven continue to provide its free services across south and north Lanarkshire.
Praising the walkers’ efforts, Karen Boyd, who is the community engagement co-ordinator at the Forth centre, said: “Everyone who took part managed to complete their challenge, which was a fantastic achievement.
“We were delighted to field such a large team for both Kiltwalks this year.
“We have taken part for the last couple of years but it is really growing in popularity now.
“We only had a team of five in Edinburgh last year so to go through with 73 walkers this year was amazing.
“We had clients, family members, staff and a team from Avondale Young Farmers walking for us.
“We don’t know yet how much has been raised; it’s a little too early as sponsorship money is still coming in.
“But we’re certain several thousand will have been raised to help us fund services in our three centres across Lanarkshire.
“It was a fantastic effort and I’d like to thank every single one of the walkers for taking part.”
Among the team members pounding the Mighty Stride route was nurse Brenda Parker, who works in the Forth centre.
And she was left a little starstruck after bumping into Judy Murray.
Karen said: “Brenda was delighted to meet Judy – I think you may be able to tell how happy she was from her face in the picture!
“Andy’s words kept Brenda going throughout the walk: If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
“She certainly managed to achieve her goal and came in to work on the Monday, still buzzing!
“There was a great atmosphere and the Haven’s team, who were all sporting our T-shirts, all helped to cheer each other on.
“It truly was a great team effort.”
With increasing client numbers every month, every penny raised will be put to good use by the charity.
Since launching its new centre in Forth last April, the Haven there has supported more than 200 people with life-limiting illnesses.
And an open day earlier this year and an information day on September 18 has seen numbers rise too.
Karen said: “Both events gave people a chance to find out more about our services in an informal way.
“It can be daunting for people to come along for the first time so these events give people a chance to see what the Haven’s all about.
“Sometimes, taking that first step is the most difficult – admitting you need some support can be scary.
“But the minute people come in, they instantly get the benefit from it.
“Everyone always gets a warm welcome here.”
Visitors to the open day were able to enjoy taster sessions in a range of therapies offered in Forth, from massage to reiki and reflexology.
A number of other local and national organisations were also on hand to offer advice and support, including South Lanarkshire Leisure, Prostate Scotland, Money Matters, SAMH, Tide, Co-Op Funeral Care, the Carers Trust and South Lanarkshire Carers Network.
And Karen was delighted with the response.
She added: “The event was open to clients, non-clients and the local community and around 20 people attended.
“The majority had not visited the centre before and wanted to find out more about it.
“It achieved exactly what we hoped it would – getting people through the doors.”
There is still time to sponsor the Kiltwalkers who made up Team Haven.
Visit the website edinburghkiltwalk2018.everydayhero.com/uk/scott-11.
Funding provides free services
Since the new Forth centre opened last April, it has supported 245 clients.
The centre is aptly named as it is a haven for people dealing with illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s and dementia.
Based at 36 Manse Road, it has two nurses who provide emotional support to clients, two therapists who offer an extensive range of services and seven volunteers who are on hand to provide a listening and supportive ear.
They are ably backed up by three staffers in the office who handle the day to day running of the centre, including Karen Boyd, the centre’s community engagement co-ordinator.
The charity provides support to people across north and south Lanarkshire as it also has two other centres, in Blantyre and Wishaw, all working on a self-referral basis.
All Haven services are free and totally confidential and client numbers are increasing.
To sustain its free support services, fundraising events like the Kiltwalk are key to offering a programme of support which is designed to help individuals cope with the physical, emotional and practical aspects of their illnesses.
The Haven offers a wide range of services, tailored to suit each individual’s needs, including complementary therapies, workshops, counselling, therapeutic arts and a lending library of books, CDs and DVDs.
It also boasts a number of support groups aimed at men, children and families and carers living with dementia.