A north east charity is undertaking an epic fund-raising walk to help provide permanent facilities for its addiction recovery work with addicts.
Led by Gordon Cruden, area manager of Teen Challenge North East Scotland, The People’s Crosswalk Challenge will involve a team of supporters as possible walking around Scotland carrying a 12-feet tall cross.
The team will attempt to complete the 600-mile route in just 30 days, meaning they will have to travel around 20 miles on foot with the 45lb cross each day.
Launching on Easter Sunday, April 16, the event will support Teen Challenge’s ‘Buy Benaiah’ campaign, a five-year fund-raising drive to find the £535,000 required to buy women’s addiction recovery home, Benaiah, near Mintlaw.
The facility – which allows mothers to continue living with their children while they complete the faith-based recovery programme – is currently rented.
Buying the property would mean the centre could continue to provide women with residential support on a permanent basis.
The crosswalk initiative follows news that the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen by 15 per cent in a single year to their highest ever figure. More than 700 people died as a result of drug abuse in 2015 – 87 more than the 613 recorded in 2014.
The statistics, released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), also reveal that deaths in the north and north east have almost doubled in recent times – from 18 to 35 in the Highlands in two years, and 36 to 69 in Grampian in a single year.
Mr Cruden said that the sobering figures highlight the importance of the provision of help and support to those struggling with life-controlling addictions and that The People’s Crosswalk Challenge will take Teen Challenge a step closer to purchasing its women’s addiction recovery home, meaning that it can help even more women break free of their addictions.
He continued: “It’s clear that our work to put hope in the reach of addicts, and help them out of the mess and mayhem of addiction, is as essential as ever.
“These latest stats are big numbers, but we have to remember that at the centre of each of these are families and friends, devastated by the collateral damage caused by drugs.
“This all makes our People’s Crosswalk Challenge all the more timely. The initiative will raise money needed to buy our women’s addiction recovery home, Benaiah, as we look to do all we can to help individuals from becoming another heart-breaking statistic.
“We’re looking for as many people as possible to get involved and we’d encourage anyone interested in taking part in the Challenge to get in touch.”
Anyone who would like to take part in The People’s Crosswalk Challenge can contact Teen Challenge on 01651 891627 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org Donations to the Buy Benaiah campaign can also be made online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peoplescrosswalkchallenge