Members of a Wigan disability awareness organisation are preparing to lace up to raise money for their cause. Happy Smiles members will take part in the Wigan Half Marathon in March, in an effort to raise funds for their training workshops.
The group, which was inspired by its current Inclusion Champions, said on its social media channels: “We’re going to be running the Wigan Half Marathon at the Run Wigan Festival 2020. Alex, Ellie, Haydn and Kurt will be pulling and pushing each other all the way – it will be a huge test but we’re determined to smash all 13 miles!”
The team has already beaten its original £500 target, to fund its inclusive training workshops, which are delivered by people with disabilities, so that social inclusion can be improved for all.
The group said: “We empower and employ young adults with disabilities to be leaders of positive social change! Our organisation gives our Inclusion Champions the skills and experience to deliver training workshops across our community, around disability awareness and social inclusion.
“To support the ongoing delivery of our training in schools, community groups, charities and more, we will be doing the Wigan Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd March! All of the funds raised will go towards sustaining and improving our training workshops.
“If we can beat our initial target of £500, any additional funds will support our goal of having our own accessible vehicle! This would help us to impact even more communities and create inclusive environments for all.”
The organisation was founded when Haydn, who has a form of cerebral palsy and who Alex cares for, had a long hospital stay and had his spirits kept up by people sending pictures of their happy smiles. Alex then began running an online blog to tell positive personal stories of people with disabilities, focusing on what they can do rather than what they cannot do.
Now, Happy Smiles aims to improve social inclusion by encouraging people to focus on the abilities of people with disabilities. So far, the group have trained over 1400 children, young people and adults. They have already been accepted onto the national School for Social Entrepreneurs, chosen as a Co-op Local Cause until November 2020 and recently had £1000 donated by ASDA Wigan after winning their Green Tokens scheme!
Donations can be made to the fund-raiser at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/happysmiles-halfmarathon
Here is a link to the original featured Wigan Today article: https://www.wigantoday.net/news/people/wigan-disability-awareness-group-to-take-part-in-half-marathon-1-10218615?fbclid=IwAR1sp-bvNgzaDoWaBzm8bKJ_TP0kyKgNnNMUsqhyF_FXrQcg9Al21O9dnq0