Abigail Tan, Head of UK, Europe and USA for St Giles Hotels, is running the New York Marathon this Sunday to help raise £20,000 for the YMCA Club’s children’s programme,  ensuring we can help some of the most disadvantaged children in the local area. 

The marathon is just one of a number of fundraising challenges Abigail has undertaken this year as part of the Hotels with a Heart partnership with Central YMCA.

In March, Abi completed the New York Half Marathon, raising in excess of £10,000. These funds provided 120 weeks of free holiday play scheme places and 70 after-school courses for activities such as trampolining, ballet and swimming lessons for children living in hostel accommodation after being subject to domestic violence, children whose free time is spent caring for sick parents or those from low-income families.

The next challenge for Abi is to complete the New York Marathon.  Her goal is to raise a further £10,000 for the programme and for this we need your help. Please donate now to this fantastic cause!

The programme has already made a real difference in the local area. In a refuge in Islington, Laura works with children who have fled their homes from domestic violence. The refuge is short of funding  and unable to provide any activities throughout the summer for their families  So far Laura has referred 7 applicants to the programme who have all been successful.

At Families First in Holloway, support worker Katherine receives self-referrals from parents wanting guidance and advice with regards to housing, parenting issues and finances; or needing access to other services in their community. They also receive referrals from schools, the police and social services, sometimes where there are concerns for a child’s welfare but where the concerns do not meet children’s social care thresholds. One of their key activities is providing 1 to 1 parenting guidance and courses. Their work is very child focussed and they measure their activity over the course of 6 months to ensure they are improving outcomes for children. Katherine has referred 3 successful applicants.

Laura Davis, a family support worker at Solace Woman’s aid, is particularly enthusiastic about the play scheme. She says: "All the children had a really great time and had the opportunity do a lot of activities they hadn’t done before. They really benefitted being around other children and grew in confidence from the experience. It has also helped financially as a lot of the families are receiving benefits after having to flee their home and the money they have saved on childcare or holiday activities for the kids has allowed them to replace things they lost."

Local parents have also been extremely supportive of the programme. Reuben’s mum says: "Reuben was very happy at the play scheme. Every day he learned new activities like cooking, model making and sports, and his favourite part was the trips. He really liked the staff as they were all friendly and kind to him. He liked being around lots of other children and making new friends." Reuben would love to come again if he can.

Shelley’s mum says: "She loved it! And she keeps saying how she wants to come back. She really likes all the staff and swimming in the mornings, she keeps saying she wants to swim with Sinead.  When we went on holiday, she was in the pool every day, she loved it so much. She does ballet every Friday with YMCA now and she keeps asking if it is ballet every night. It’s great; it tires her out and she sleeps so much better. If I could afford to pay myself, I would definitely have her doing lots of things with YMCA."

Hotels with a Heart is a program that is close to the brand essence and core pillars of the St Giles Hotel Group. Through this programme, they hope to raise funds all year round for charitable partners with whom they have strategic ties, with the aim of aiding and contributing to the societies and communities, local, national, and international, where their hotels are located, as well as for causes that speak to their staff and guests. 

St Giles Hotel London have been supporting Central YMCA’s community programmes through a variety of fundraising events in 2014. Hotels with a Heart will enable St Giles Hotel Group to infuse a deeper soul and energy into their individual properties and the brand, as well as including their team, business partners, and guests in the quest to use all the resources available to us to touch the lives of those beyond the hotel walls.

ymca | 30 October 2014