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We did it! An update.

I'm now 3 weeks on from finishing the Pennine Way on 26th May and a little later than I'd planned for a fundraising update...the money just kept coming in! But I did want to update you on what we have achieved together. Amazingly, we not only reached our funding target of £20,000 - we shot through it to almost £25,000 once the Gift Aid we can claim on some of the gifts has been added in. What a result!! Beyond my hopes or expectations and we are so grateful. In simple terms that's enough to provide mentoring support to at least 6 young people for a whole year - and we know that that support can help change the course of a life.

Personally, for some reason it seems much longer than 3 weeks ago. It's strange how something that at the time felt pretty much all consuming (long distances, big climbs, painful feet, wet clothing, sleeping in a tent, never quite being able to eat enough and BOGs), when you eventually step away and back into 'normal' life, quickly becomes something from the distant past. I've slowed down on the eating (thankfully) and I don't want to sleep all the time like I did in the first 10 days. My feet are not quite there yet. There are still bits that I can feel too much and others that I can't feel enough - but the recovery is well underway. But a couple of things have really stayed with me from the whole experience. 1) What a difference being supported makes and how much harder it must be to struggle through tough times alone, and 2) How knowing where you're going and why is such a motivator to press on. I hasten to add I was never truly alone, even on those days when I was physically on my own and perhaps didn't see more than a couple of people in a whole day. I knew there were people supporting me and rooting for me and I knew there was an end in sight and a goal to reach, even if that did mean walking to Scotland.

I've had so many people inquiring about how I'm doing, quickly followed by whether I'd do it again. The quick answer to that second part is, 'No, and please don't ask me for a couple of years at least!', but the more considered answer is actually, 'If I needed to do it all again to bring focus and empathy and support for the special young people who ask In2Out for help, then yes, I'd do it again'.

As I alluded to in a previous post, life is just a sequence of journey's - some short and sweet, some long and hard, some really positive, some maybe not so, but the most important thing is that we keep going and don't give up. That's what our young people need - people that won't give up on them, even when they make a wrong step. There are no short-cuts to helping them live lives filled with hope rather than despair, but all any of us can do it keep taking the next step with them and help them navigate the bogs and see through the fog they're often in to a future that will pull them on.

Thank you to those of you who have already decided to continue your journey with these young people, maybe by committing to give a monthly donation. For anyone who would still like to do that, you can do it here.

Whatever you can give can make a difference.

Or if you're not already signed up to stay in touch with news about our work and our young people, you can do that here.

Thanks again for all your messages of support before, during and after my journey - they motivated and inspired me.

Now we just need to keep supporting theirs.

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