It is too easy to ignore how demoralising, lonely and isolating unemployment can be. I believe that everyone, with the right support and given the opportunity, has the desire to and will thrive in the right working environment. Employment (both paid and voluntary) gives people a sense of pride, value and self-worth and every week of experience leads to more confidence and makes a person that little bit more likely, to find long term security for themselves and their family.

I am so very fortunate to have had an education, to have a home, a supportive family, a business and the ability to make ends meet but I am acutely conscious that, for many reasons, life doesn’t work out like this for everyone.

Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t owned or ridden a bike for 28 years. I would have been more than happy to continue my life this way but, in order to support Aspire, I now have a bike, learned how to use the (24!!!) gears by watching WhatsApp (my last bike had 3), begged friends to practice with me (in case I can’t do it/get stuck/fall off) and am now routinely cycling (over the Pennine hills) 10-20km per day and building up the strength and stamina to make sure I can succeed in doing something I personally find to be extremely challenging and, to be honest, rather daunting!!

Please, please give generously!! Every pound raised is a step closer to my £1,500 target and will make all this effort (and pain) worthwhile!

Thank you!!

Jo Hewlett