Walking from London to Paris to help end street homelessness

Luke took on a solo fundraising mission of a staggering 302km walk from London to Paris in aid of Thames Reach

Walking from London to Paris to help end street homelessness

Last month, Luke undertook the huge challenge of a solo sponsored walk from London to Paris. An entirely self-guided, self-initiated effort, he walked over 300km to raise money for our work helping to end street homelessness. We caught up with him after a well-earned rest to hear how it went!

London to Paris is an incredible feat to achieve on foot. Can you talk us through how it went day by day?

I walked out my front door at 3:30am, and spent the next five days walking all the way to the French capital, a total of 302km. The longest day was 95km from my home in south west London to Newhaven on the south coast. That day was a real challenge, taking a total of 22 hours, and had an elevation similar to climbing Snowdon.

A few hours into day one, it really hit home that my boots were not “worn in”, and my feet were in a lot of pain. Every step was hurting, which was making the challenge much harder.

Day two was a ferry ride from Newhaven to Dieppe. The few hours on the ferry allowed me to recover after the mammoth first day. I then made an impromptu visit in passing to a sports shop in Dieppe, where I bought some new trainers to use instead of the boots that were causing a lot of pain. As a stroke of fortune, these fit perfectly and I wore them for the rest of the trip. Having seen a snippet of Dieppe, I’ve decided I definitely want to visit properly someday.

The next three days then blurred into one 3-day long period of walking through lots of farmland in glorious spring sunshine, listening to podcasts and eating baguettes and an inhuman amount of trail mix.

I finally arrived in Paris to be greeted at the finish line by my two sisters, shortly followed by some much needed hot food and a glass of wine.

What support did you get from Thames Reach in the lead up to the event?

Thames Reach were very supportive, providing some really positive encouragement prior to the event. They kindly provided a couple of event t-shirts that I made great use of.

What inspired you take on a fundraising challenge for Thames Reach specifically (and such an extreme one at that!)?

The sheer size and visibility of the problem of homelessness in London is staggering. The statistics of the number of people who don’t have a home is truly shocking, and shouldn’t exist in this country.

After a few years of occasionally volunteering for Thames Reach in outreach as part of the Rapid Response Team, I wanted to make a contribution in a different way.

With charities constantly facing tough trade-offs in use of resources, supporting with a financial contribution can make a real difference to the people who rely on the services Thames Reach provides.

What was the highlight of the event for you?

Although I love walking and being outdoors, arriving in Paris was far and away the highlight. My feelings were a combination of a large sense of achievement… as well as a huge dose of relief that I could finally stop walking and rest!

If you are inspired by Luke’s incredible fundraising activity, head to our Support Us page and be part of the journey towards ending street homelessness.

His JustGiving page is still live if you would like to show your support. Click here to follow his journey.


What is it like to take part in a Challenge Event?

We spoke with Jenny, who ran the Hackney Half Marathon in 2019 in aid of Thames Reach. Now that the weather is improving and events are opening up again, we asked her how she kept up her motivation for this fantastic race.

What is it like to take part in a Challenge Event?

Which challenge did you take part in, and how did you prepare?

I ran the Hackney Half Marathon in May 2019, in aid of Thames Reach’s work. I trained regularly for several months building up to it, increasing my running distances gradually up to around ten or eleven miles. The run on the day is always easier because you’ve got all the support and buzz of the event, which helped me to make it those last few miles on the day!


What inspires you about Thames Reach’s work? 

I’ve been an outreach volunteer with the Rapid Response Team for more than two years now and so I’ve seen first-hand the importance of Thames Reach’s work in supporting people into accommodation and helping them to rebuild their lives. I really appreciate how Thames Reach approaches each client as an individual and without judgement, and the passion that the staff have for the work that they do.

What did you enjoy about the challenge, and would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend the event; there was an amazing buzz on the day in the festival village and all the way round the course. My lasting memory of the day was just after mile 8 when my legs were starting to get a bit tired, I met two women (just members of the public) who were giving out sweets and cheering everyone who passed with incredible enthusiasm! I think that encounter really captured the spirit of the event, it had such a great community feel and positive spirit. It was amazing to be a part of it.

If you’ve been inspired by Jenny’s story and are passionate about ending street homelessness, check out our challenge events and register your interest today. Upcoming scheduled events include the London Duathlon and the London to Brighton Bike Ride, both taking place in September 2021.

Fundraise for Thames Reach with the Prudential RideLondon!

The virtual event allows fundraisers to ride 19, 46 or 100 miles in their own time to help end street homelessness

Fundraise for Thames Reach with the Prudential RideLondon!


– Free event on 15 and 16 August gives people chance to celebrate cycling and raise crucial funds for charity
– My Prudential RideLondon enables cyclists to take part in world’s greatest festival of cycling wherever they are

Participants who wish to ride for Thames Reach need to register in advance and select their challenge at www.myridelondon.co.uk. The site will also provide a link to Virgin Money Giving where they can set up their fundraising page.

The first ever virtual edition of Prudential RideLondon – the world’s greatest festival of cycling – will take place on 15 and 16 August (the event weekend) to celebrate cycling and raise funds to help save the UK’s charities.

Thames Reach, like many other charities, has been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as fundraising events such as Prudential RideLondon have been either postponed or cancelled.

My Prudential RideLondon offers Thames Reach supporters, of all ages and abilities, the opportunity to take part in a fantastic challenge and raise crucial funds for our charity.

It is an exciting, free event that can be done anywhere in the world. It offers people the chance to tackle a range of distances based on the events included in the traditional Prudential RideLondon weekend.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of Prudential RideLondon, said: “After the disappointment of the cancellation of Prudential RideLondon, we were determined to create something special for our riders, partners and the hundreds of charities that rely on the event for vital income.

“My Prudential RideLondon is building on the success of The 2.6 Challenge – created following the postponement of the London Marathon – which became the biggest collective fundraising effort in the world involving nearly 4,000 charities.

“Charities desperately need help to continue to provide vital services to every sector of society and fund critical research. In this socially distanced world, it’s also vitally important to encourage people to get on two wheels rather than use public transport. The My Prudential RideLondon campaign has been created to achieve both these aims.

“My Prudential RideLondon is completely free and offers a fundraising challenge for everyone, whether that’s an amateur rider doing 100 miles or a family enjoying a 1km bike ride together. It can be done wherever you are and at any time on 15 or 16 August. Whatever you do, we urge you to raise funds for a charity of your choice – and have fun!”

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive at Thames Reach said: “The pandemic has Thames Reach twofold in the last few months; not only have many of our fundraising activities been cancelled due to social distancing measures, but there has been a significant increase in the demand for our services, with many more people coming onto the street and a need to find more permanent housing for those who have been in emergency accommodation. My Prudential RideLondon is a fantastic way of supporting worthy causes, it will make a real difference when it is needed most urgently and we’re delighted to be involved with such a great event.”

How it works

My Prudential RideLondon includes four challenges for all ages and abilities that participants can do on a route of their choice, wherever they are in the world, on either 15 or 16 August:

– My Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100: 100-mile ride
– My Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46: 46-mile ride
– My Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 19: 19-mile ride
– My Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle: An event that allows you to set your own challenge (starting from 1km) on the wheels of your choice: bikes, push scooters, skateboards, trikes, balance bikes, roller skates, wheelchairs or anything that is self-propelled (e-bikes are fine too).

Once signed up, participants will be able to download the new My Prudential RideLondon app in event week. This will give every participant and supporter a unique ride day experience, including:

– A GPS function that enables friends and family to follow a rider’s progress on the virtual Prudential RideLondon route
– Creation of a personalised Prudential RideLondon certificate that shows the rider’s completed route and ride time
– Selfie frames to give riders personalised Prudential RideLondon finisher photographs
– Direct donation button through to each rider’s Virgin Money Giving fundraising page

In addition, every rider aged over 18 who registers will have the option of being entered into a fantastic competition that has 25 top-quality prizes available including a brand new Brompton Bicycle valued at more than £1,000, a HIGH5 nutrition bundle worth £250 and top-of-the-range cycling equipment including a SRAM groupset and Zipp wheels.

Participants are asked to follow current Government guidelines on cycling. For more information, click here.

Prudential RideLondon first took place in 2013 as a legacy event from the London 2012 Olympics. In its first seven editions, it has become the world’s greatest festival of cycling, with 100,000 riders of all ages and abilities participating in seven different events on traffic-free roads in London and Surrey. It has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to take up cycling or cycle more often and a total of more than £77 million has been raised for thousands of charities.

Thames Reach taking part in the World’s Big Sleep Out

Thames Reach to participate in global fundraising event

Thames Reach taking part in the World’s Big Sleep Out

Thames Reach are proud to be one of the charities supporting World’s Big Sleep Out, a global event taking place on 7th December to raise funds and awareness for the issue of homelessness.

The World’s Big Sleep Out will see fundraising events take place in towns and cities across the world. The campaign aims to see a total of 50,000 people sleeping out in parks and squares their respective cities on the same night.

Registration to join the event will open to the public in early September, and each applicant will commit to fundraising as much as they can to help tackle homelessness.

Further details on the World’s Big Sleep Out campaign will be announced later this year. You can find out more at www.bigsleepout.com

Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said:It’s right that people are concerned about homelessness and the dreadful and lasting impact that it has on people’s lives.  The World’s Big Sleep Out is an opportunity to come together to raise money that will help individuals affected by homelessness; but also to show our government and governments across the world that this is a crisis that we need to work together to solve.”