Your projects. Our communities. Kent’s resilience
David entered the care system when he was two months old. He lived with 16 foster families and experienced two spells in secure units before his 17th birthday. Then, David found the running community via a family who recognised untapped potential in him. Not just as a runner, but as a man. The stats are shocking: in 2022, just 1% of children in England were in care, but 59% of children in custody in England were care experienced. That was David's path too, but he found a new one through running. A path that led him to the start line of the world's most iconic mountain race: Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, in August 2023, as part of John McAvoy's Alpine Run Project - a campaign to get young people from urban environments moving in nature, at home and abroad. David will lead and mentor young people in or leaving care focusing on the outstanding natural beauty of the North Downs Way, to help prevent them becoming another statistic from the care system. Allowing them to dream.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Young people joining this project will experience the thrill of trail running, mountain biking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding and any other outdoor activity they choose to pursue on the Folkestone Downs, North Downs Way and coastal areas of Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe. The most important benefit, however, will be the inspiration they gain through the relationship they build with David; someone who's been what they are going through and come out the other side by throwing himself into the activities they will be taking part in. There is no substitute for having projects led by people with lived experience, and few have the lived experience of David when it comes to the care system, survival, and a story that can connect and inspire young people who are currently struggling. Ultimately, this project will help keep young people in or leaving care becoming one of the statistics, the trends of which suggest a majority will otherwise end up in the criminal justice system.
Steps to get it done:
About the space
The Folkestone Downs, North Downs Way, Sandgate/Folkestone/Hythe/Hawkinge
Shepway District Council