City Hearts staff choose weightlifting over walking for Sofa to Summit challenge!

Between July 4-10 City Hearts staff and supporters have pledged to walk 65,000 steps for survivors of Modern Slavery.

The Sofa to Summit challenge asks supporters to cover the distance of the Yorkshire Three Peak (25.5 miles) in any way, and any place they like.

Most plan to walk or run the distance in just one or two days, while a team from City Hearts also plans to travel to Yorkshire to trek the Three Peaks in-person.

However, some of our staff, like Kat Hawkes and Ben Greaves from our North West team, are taking a more creative approach to the fundraising!

Instead of covering a distance of 25 miles, Kat and Ben plan to challenge themselves by hitting the gym, and lifting thousands of kg of weight over seven days.

Outreach Manager Ben Greaves, said: “Victims of modern slavery are some of the most vulnerable people in society, suffering from trauma, isolation, and lack of opportunities.

“They need help to go from just surviving, to back to being a normal person who can have a life again, and feel happy to be themselves.

“That is what this fundraising will help us do – it helps a person who has suffered so much, feel human again.

In 2021, 12,727 victims of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking were identified in the UK, with the real number likely to be far higher.

So, for seven days I will be lifting 12,727 kg every day to raise money for our Integrated Support Program, which helps survivors integrate back into normal life.”

Kat Hawkes is as a coordinator for City Hearts’ long-term support programme and has been weightlifting for about eight months.

“I used to do cardio, but got interested in weights after going to some Mixed Martial Arts,” she said.  

“At first I wanted to gain confidence, but now I just really love it. It’s challenging in a different way to cardio, and it’s also really good for mental health and mindfulness.”

Kat trains four times a week, and says that fundraising for survivors of slavery is vital if City Hearts is to continue offering long-term support to its clients. She plans to spend nine hours weightlifting over the course of six days and hopes to raise as much as she can for the charity’s Integration Support Department.

“I care deeply about raising money for our Integration Support Programmes,” she said. “I know the individual clients who benefit from this service as I work with them daily. I really want to see them step into sustainable independence.”

Last year’s successful Sofa to Summit event saw City Hearts staff and supporters raise £30,000, by virtually tackling the 56 miles to the summit of Kilimanjaro around their own towns.

This year’s event aims to raise £30,000 for the Integration Support Department, which looks after the long-term emotional needs of survivors of Modern Slavery. The department runs programmes aimed at increasing the confidence, self-worth, and resilience of survivors, so they are able to navigate the world more safely and independently.

Sign up to the virtual event here: