A GROUP of volunteers embarked on a 17-kilometre walk across the borough last week to help raise more than £1,100 for rough sleepers in Barnsley.

As part of charity Shelter’s Big Walk, around 20 local volunteers took on the challenge of walking ten-and-a-half miles to raise funds for both Shelter and local Barnsley Churches Drop-In Project (BCDP).

The nationwide walking event is being organised by homeless charity Shelter, with thousands of participants from all over the country, taking part.

The Barnsley walkers are part of The Rucksack Project, where volunteers head out around town each and every night to help those in need.

During their rounds they meet with those who are homeless and rough sleeping, serving up food, hot drinks and providing essentials as well as providing support and advice where they can.

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While the Big Walk event is intended to cover any distance between three and ten kilometres, the volunteer group pitched the idea to take on a longer walk, and in return raise money not only for Shelter, but also for the local homeless charity, the BCDP.

On Saturday, the team set off on their route which ran around part of the town centre and then along the Trans Pennine Trail and back again.

They participated in groups which adhered to current coronavirus guidelines, and each walker involved sported a bright red Shelter bobble hat.

Adie Flute, one of the volunteers for the group, said: “We’re so grateful to Shelter for letting us raise money for the local charity, as well as their own funds, they have been incredibly supportive throughout.

“Every penny raised for the BCDP will go back into helping someone in our town that has fallen on hard times.

“With temperatures dropping close to zero this week, the need is abundantly clear.

“The money we have raised here enables us to purchase higher priced items such as four season sleeping bags, as well as just more of the items we get through on a nightly basis, and at this time of year we can get through supplies far, far quicker.

“Every donation we receive makes an enormous difference to those in Barnsley who are worst off.”

So far, the group has raised just over £3,000 for Shelter, and the local charity fundraising stands at more than £1,100.

“The fundraiser for BCDP is still open for people to donate. We’d love if people could think of the project which is so vital in our borough.”