Former homeless teen heads for the hills in charity challenge

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Former homeless teen heads for the hills in charity challenge

A former homeless teenager joined fitness fanatics to launch a charity Munro Challenge at Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh today (Wednesday, 12 March 2014).

David Middleton (19), who found himself homeless at the age of 17 and members of Burn It Fitness, is launching the fundraising drive for The Rock Trust that hopes to see walkers on top of all 283 Munro’s in Scotland next month.   The charity works with 16-25 year olds who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. 

In excess of 1,000 walkers are expected to take part in this year’s challenge on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of June 2014 to raise over £20,000 for The Rock Trust,

David Middleton from West Lothian, said: “I was 17 years old when asked to leave my mum’s house. I suffered homophobic abuse by my neighbours and couldn’t take the constant arguing at home with my mum and siblings. I left and found myself alone in Edinburgh with nowhere to go or sleep.

“I’ve overcome a huge mountain to beat homelessness so this challenge feels right for me. I urge others to take part and help raise money for a great cause that’s helping hundreds of homeless youths across Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

Rock Trust Chief Executive Kate Polson said the charity has helped almost 2000 young people in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian since 2010.

She said: “By taking part in our Munro Challenge you can know that with every step, you are helping others climb out of homelessness. It’s vital for helping us raise funds to support some of Edinburgh and the Lothians’ most vulnerable young people, from crisis point to living in stable secured housing and either working or volunteering.

“That’s why we’re encouraging local climbers, hillwalkers, runners and walkers to sign up to our Munro Challenge.”

The Rock Trust offers more than 50 bed spaces each night to young people in Edinburgh. It advises, educates and supports young people to enable them to build the personal skills and resources required to make a positive and healthy transition to adulthood while avoiding or moving on from homelessness.

John Laurie, Director of Burn It Fitness, added: “If we can help put a spotlight on the issue of youth homelessness and raise awareness of the desperate plight that many young people find themselves in, we’re happy to help and take part in what will be a fun and challenging experience.”

To find out more information or to sign up visit www.rocktrust.org or email events@rocktrust.org

Case Study – David Middleton David was only 17 years old when he found himself homeless in West Lothian. After continual arguments with his mother and siblings and suffering homophobic abuse by his neighbours, he decided to leave.

He stayed in an emergency hostel but was extremely unhappy, stressed and anxious. As this was happening, he was still attending college as well as holding down a job with long hours but was struggling to cope.

He accessed The Rock Trust housing support service in West Lothian where he was given stable accommodation through the charity’s supported flats. He was given help in budgeting and managing finances as well as essential life skills such as how to cook on a shoestring budget.

With the help of Rock Trust he was eventually offered a permanent council tenancy close to his work and family where he was able to gradually start to rebuild a relationship with his mum. He’s since overcome homelessness, stabilised his life, gained and sustained his own tenancy as well as maintain his employment.

David is now 19 years old and recently secured his dream job in the airline industry. He’s feeling excited and positive about future.

ENDS

For further interviews and/or images from the event, please contact Mhairi Greer at Pagoda PR on 0131 556 0770/ 07753166848 or email mhairi.greer@pagodapr.com

Notes to editors
1. A Munro is a mountain over 3,000 feet in height in Scotland.
2. The Rock Trust Munro Challenge in 2012 raised almost £14,000 and was sponsored by Blackrock and Tiso.
3. Established in 1991, The Rock Trust works with 16-25 year olds across Edinburgh and the Lothians to prevent youth homelessness and support young people to have better futures.
4. The Rock Trust advises, educates and supports young people to enable them to build the personal skills and resources required to make a positive and healthy transition to adulthood while avoiding or moving on from homelessness. It offers more than 50 bed spaces each night to young people in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian.
5. Of the young people who access The Rock Trust’s services, 84 per cent enter employment, education or training and 96 per cent sustain more permanent housing.