"For anyone who cares or has concerns about poverty in Northamptonshire, who doesn’t know where to start or where to go in order to support or donate, then we feel this walk is a good starting place to do your one thing this year to make a difference."
This is the view of Rachel McGrath, who is at the forefront of trying to tackle food poverty in the county in her role as grants director and deputy CEO for Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF), which delivers a variety of funding for the voluntary and community sector awarding grants of over £1 million every year.
Poverty is a growing concern in our county, according to a 'Hidden Needs' report commissioned by the Foundation, which identified that 21,730 children and young people are living in need in this county alone, 11,000 of those are in Northampton.
In a bid to alleviate the pressure on those in Northampton facing tough austerity cuts, businesses and individuals are being asked to step up to the challenge and take part in the ‘Stamp Out Poverty Walk’ to raise awareness of deprivation on our doorsteps. All the money raised from the 17k walk, on Saturday, September 8 in Chapel Brampton, will directly go towards organisations tackling poverty.
The individual or team that raises the most will receive the Top Fundraiser gong - with three other prizes for 'Top Walker', 'Best Social Walker' and Best Team Player.
Rachel said: "There has been a surge in food bank use with the introduction of changes to universal credit and also through feedback by organisations and groups that we work with - [we hear about] the increase and demand.
"People tend to hide away their issues, troubles or concerns and they don’t often seek help until they’re really in crisis so I would say that the people who walk through the doors of local food banks are probably just the tip of the iceberg.
"There are probably other people in crisis who aren’t getting the support and help they deserve and need because they feel too ashamed or too proud to ask."
The walk aims to set off at 10am from the Brampton Halt in Chapel Brampton where walkers will venture around Pitsford Reservoir, before returning to the Brampton Halt where participants will be welcomed with a hog roast.
Rachel added: "For those who haven’t had much experience with fundraising before this is a good starting point.
"It’s less intimidating than a run and it’s less scary than abseiling down the lift tower.
"It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded people and get to know residents and local businesses."
The Foundation is encouraging businesses to enter and fundraise in groups of five - there is a registration cost of £30 for each walker (administrated by NCF).
Following this newspaper's efforts, three years ago, the Chron and NCF helped to raise £11,559 to support five poverty-tackling charitable projects working with groups in Northampton.
READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECTS AND HOW YOUR MONEY HELPED HERE:
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FAIR DEAL FOR KIDS CAMPAIGN: Fundraising efforts paid for four days of community activities in Spring Boroughs
FAIR DEAL FOR KIDS CAMPAIGN: Readers fundraising efforts paid for nursery cook to dish up hot meals for pupils
FAIR DEAL FOR KIDS CAMPAIGN: 'How can 8,400 Northampton children be living hand-to-mouth in 2018?': We relaunch 'Fair Deal For Kids’ campaign