On 13 October 2023, Philip Le Marquand, a supporter of Oasis Community Housing from Gateshead, completed a 385-mile walk from Peckham in South London to Gateshead in the North East of England raising £1,510 for people experiencing homelessness.

After setting off from our No.3 project nearly five weeks ago, Philip arrived at our Basis Gateshead Homeless drop-in to a warm welcome from our project staff, friends and family.

Philip plotted his route using the online walking tool SlowWays which encourages users to walk unused footpaths and engage in more leisurely walks. Often this doesn’t mean walking the fastest route.

Support all the way

At the beginning and end of his journey Philip received an in-person warm send–off and welcome from our project staff, but for much of the walk Philip was physically alone. Philip kept his spirits high by sending regular updates to, and engaging with, the small community of people who had a keen interest in the walk.

Philip reflected on the support he received throughout the walk: ‘When I thought about it, I hadn’t realised that this was a wonderful thing. It was when I started in Peckham, then I suddenly realised that how people thought this was such a great thing to do. I was thinking it was just a walk.

‘It’s been marvellous to get the support all the way through.’

Overcoming challenges

While there were several positive moments during the journey, the walk was far from easy. For Philip, it was during the first week and a half when he faced his most significant obstacles.

He explained: ‘I think the most challenging part of the walk was at the beginning with the heat wave and I’d got the wrong shoes to start with.’

‘Between the hot weather and the blisters, that was the lowest point and the most challenging point.’

Philip says he had to push through on the more difficult days: ‘What got me through was the knowledge that I was doing it for Oasis Community Housing. The whole point of it was to raise people’s awareness of homelessness.

‘It’s such a brilliant organisation. I mean, every time I see and visit a project I am blown away by the commitment, the professionalism and the dedication of all the workers.

‘It feels to me like it’s the organisation which looks after the person, rather than just providing a house.’

As well as providing temporary and supported accommodation, Oasis Community Housing also works with people through their trauma offering support for men and women who have experienced domestic abuse, crisis support, among a plethora of other services aimed at relieving the burden of homelessness.

Completing the challenge

Philip arrived at our Basis Gateshead homeless drop-in project, where staff had organised a welcome party to congratulate him on his incredible achievement. Through completing this extraordinary challenge Philip raised £1,510 to support people experiencing homelessness.

Are you inspired by Philip’s challenge? Why not take on your own fundraising challenge? Whatever you’re thinking of doing we can support you. Get in touch with our Individuals and Communities Fundraising Manager, Joanne Armstrong, at joanne.armstrong@oasiscommunityhousing.org