Update: Tony completed the Great Manchester Run in an amazing 69 minutes and has raised about £400 for Emmaus Bolton so far. We are still collecting sponsorship at the shop counter off Fletcher Street, BL3 6NF. Can you help Tony raise even more to help tackle homelessness?
Five-time marathon man Tony is running his most important race yet, in aid of Emmaus Bolton who supported his journey to safety and stability from homelessness.
61-year-old Tony is entering the Great Manchester Run on 26 September to raise money for our charity, which has been his home for the last four years. Emmaus Bolton supports up to 22 formerly homeless people, all of whom take on varied roles within the social enterprises run from the charity’s base at Derby Barracks.
Tony started sleeping rough in Greater Manchester when problems at work and spiralling mental health, led to the breakdown of a long-term relationship.
Tony said: “I was what some people might describe as a typical bloke. I didn’t talk to anyone about it. Mental health issues still carry such a stigma. I just tried to brush it off as nothing. Then I just cracked one day.”
After sleeping on friends’ sofas, Tony lived on the streets for two years, until a friend who was already living at Emmaus Bolton, recommended the charity.
Whilst at Emmaus, Tony began by working in the garden centre, then switched to van driving, where he continues to collect and deliver new and secondhand goods from the charity’s onsite shop. He also lends a hand maintaining the buildings at Emmaus Bolton and, spends his free time running, taking official race photographs or volunteering as a route marshal.
Tony said: “With the charity’s support, I’m a lot more stable now. To me, depression is one of those things that doesn’t go away, but I’m a lot better. I know there are people to go to when I’m feeling that way. Having other people around is a godsend because I know there are certain people who I can turn to.
“By sponsoring my run, you would be helping people at Emmaus Bolton who have been through a lot already. You’d be helping people now and in the future, to move forward positively and not to give up hope.”
Director of Emmaus Bolton Tony Stephenson said: “I remember the day Tony joined our community. He’s an inspiring person who has contributed so much and is continuing to do so with this fundraiser.
“Getting back into running as well as his other interests, shows just how far people can come at Emmaus, with companionship, a safe place to live, meaningful work, support and a sense of belonging.”
To sponsor Tony’s Great Manchester Run please call into Emmaus Bolton at Derby Barracks on Fletcher Street or contact the charity on 01204 398056.
For more information about Emmaus Bolton please visit our About Us pages.