Jamie Peacock MBE, Great Britain Rugby League legend, has announced he is running a unique 100-mile ultramarathon around London to fundraise for sports and mentoring charity Greenhouse Sports on April 16th.
After a very successful 52-mile ultramarathon fundraiser in May 2021 raising over £60,000, this year Jamie and sports agency founder Simon Dent have challenged themselves to more than double the distance and feat, again raising money and awareness for Greenhouse Sports in their 20th anniversary year.
With the sad development that the charity had to temporarily close their HQ, the Greenhouse Centre, in December 2021 due to safety issues in the Centre’s roof, Jamie pledged to ‘Run for the Roof’ in 2022. The impressive challenge is to raise funds but also to help raise awareness of the charity, which is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The Greenhouse Centre is a unique community sports centre situated in a 17th century former church and listed building in Marylebone which has served as the charity’s HQ since April 2018, after extensive refurbishment and conversion to a safe space offering free sports coaching and community activities to underprivileged children of all ages and backgrounds 6 days a week. During the first lockdown, the Centre operated as a foodbank to help feed families.
Jamie is set to run the unique course and fundraise with Simon Dent, keen endurance runner and founder of HERO talent agency and sports marketing agency Dark Horses. Together, Jamie and Simon will make a 100-mile double loop around London, which will begin and end at the Greenhouse Centre and check in at a number of the 40 schools in the capital that Greenhouse Coaches support.
Jamie, who made more than 500 club appearances and accumulated 47 international caps, continues his support of Greenhouse Sports, choosing to fundraise for the charity because of his passion for sports and the positive impact that sports has on children and their mental health and academic achievement.
Greenhouse Sports use a unique combination of mentoring and sport to help young people living in poverty reach their full potential, both at school and then into employment. Currently there are 4 million children in the UK living in poverty, and these children’s circumstances are impacted more by Covid-19, with worse mental health outcomes, academic outcomes and employment prospects.
Greenhouse Sports, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, partners with schools to embed full-time coaches who become trusted mentors and inspire the children to aim higher. School children supported by a Greenhouse Sports Coach are on average likely to attend more than 5 days of school a year than those not on Greenhouse programmes.
The charity recently announced plans to expand across the country to help more underprivileged children in the UK, launching in a school in Portsmouth this school year.
The charity is going above and beyond to ensure the young people supported by the Centre continue to receive the mentoring and coaching programmes crucial to levelling up their life chances and is operating in temporary alternative venues while the Centre remains closed.
Jamie Peacock adds, “Even though this challenge is daunting, at double the length we did last year, we’re determined to raise funds for the kids and help the Greenhouse HQ get back on its feet again. I’ve visited the Centre previously and witnessed the Coaches in action – the programmes have a massive positive impact on young people and help them to stay away from antisocial behaviour.
“On our journey through the capital, we’ll be passing some iconic landmarks and going past some of the schools Greenhouse supports across 17 London boroughs, which was great to experience last year and see the amazing young people Greenhouse supports.”
Beatrice Butsana-Sita, CEO of Greenhouse Sports says, “We are honoured that Jamie and Simon have chosen to support Greenhouse Sports for a second year running, especially as our Centre has been forced to close on our 20th Anniversary year. 2022 will no doubt be another challenging year for charities as the ongoing impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt and millions of children suffer from poverty and learning loss. We’re truly grateful to have Jamie and Simon’s efforts behind us and with an even more ambitious ultramarathon challenge!
“The Greenhouse Centre is where our coaches deliver high-quality sports programmes and is the home for our table tennis club, as well as other sports programmes for young people and their families from the local community and beyond. It’s a long road ahead before we can reopen our doors again, but we are hopeful that this fundraiser will help raise awareness and support all of our coaches in making a difference to more kids’ lives.”