Bath Half runners making a difference to the lives of young people

November 14, 2017 // Rachel Ellis

Last week we had the privilege of spending the day with many of our 2018 charity partners, looking ahead to March 4th, and making plans to ensure that 2018 is another brilliant year for charity fundraising at the Bath Half.

At the event, the Bath Half team really enjoyed a talk given by Jamie Luck, director of a local Bath charity; Mentoring Plus.

We felt really uplifted and inspired by Jamie’s words, and we wanted to share some of what he said with the readers of our Bath Half blog. We gave him a call this week to talk a little bit more about the impact that our Bath Half runners have made to this fantastic charity.

Tell us a little bit about Mentoring Plus and the work it does.

Mentoring Plus is a charity that works with children and young people across the Bath & North-East Somerset area. Believing that all young people have the right to do really well in life, Mentoring Plus pair young people with volunteer mentors from their own community.

We recruit, train and support these adult volunteers to mentor 7 – 21-year olds needing extra support with family, education, emotional needs and employability.

As a charity we really want to engage with our local community so that we can help look after our young and most vulnerable.

How did Mentoring Plus come to be involved with the Bath Half?

Well, the commitment our volunteer mentors make –  to work with one young person, on a weekly basis, for a whole year – is a big commitment. We’ve found that lots of people really want to support our charity but are just unable to make that sort of commitment. The Bath Half offers them a chance to be part of our charity and to support it, by stepping in and committing to running around the streets of Bath. We’ve now been involved with Bath Half for over five years and have grown our running team to around 30 runners.

What impact does the money raised at the Bath Half have?

Training and supporting our mentors and providing positive free activities for the children and young people costs around £3k per young person, per year. Although this might seem like a lot, it would cost much more if that young person was excluded from school, or required mental health services, or ended up in the criminal justice system. In 2017 the Bath Half runners raised £18k which means six young people can be given access to a really transformative experience.

So, we know you run the Bath Half each year too, can you share what impact the race has made on you?

Well, I became director of Mentoring Plus in 2013 and by 2014 I thought I’d better step up and actually run the race I was pestering others to run! In 2014 I ran it in 2hrs 15mins. In 2015 I managed it in 2hrs. This year I managed to get around in 1hrs 43mins.

Does that mean that you’ll be going for a sub 90 time in 2018????

Yes! I’m going to celebrate my 40th birthday the day before the race and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get below the 90-minute mark on race day! It will be a quiet birthday celebration the night before!

The Bath Half has inspired me to run and in 2018, to mark the 20th birthday of Mentoring Plus, I will run 20 races – including the ParkRun in Shepton Mallet, the Bath Half, and also my first marathon, which I will run in Edinburgh.

Tell us about your experience of race day in Bath

On race day you can’t help but get swept along by the power and positivity of the Bath Half.

What I like about it is that all the local charities come together. We all want our community to be a better place, but we often work in isolation and it is great to come together on the day. Everyone supports one another and I love running past the Carers Centre on the Lower Bristol Road and hearing their cheers.

The race really inspires me too.  Bath can appear to be a city of great affluence and wealth, but it is also a city where poverty exists too. On race day we run from Great Pulteney Street, a street with probably some of the highest property prices in the UK, and then we go on to run through Twerton, one of the poorest areas of the city, and a place where Mentoring Plus work with young people. I like that about the Bath Half – you see all sides of the city – and it’s great to run through one of the communities we work with.

The Bath Half is the most inspiring, ambitious and positive community event I’ve had the pleasure to be part of and I’m looking forward to being part of it again in 2018.

And any training tips for your fellow Bath Halfers?

Yes. Definitely train!

Thank you, Jamie. We wish you, and all the Mentoring Plus runners, well for the Bath Half 2018

To find out more about Mentoring Plus then visit their website. Better still, if you want to run for them, then get in touch with Stephanie Massie