Training Update - 2 months to go! 

Hi All,

I thought I would provide an update in relation to my ongoing training and my plans to represent The Margaret Carey Foundation at this year’s London Marathon. It is such a privilege to represent the charity given that this is the first occasion the charity has been granted a place at the event.

I must admit training for a marathon during the summer months has proved difficult and I am having to get up early in the morning to pound the streets before the sun rises. Currently I am running about 45 miles each week with daily miles and long runs at the weekends. I have been driving to different venues for my longer runs to find flat routes and to make the training more interesting. Most of my runs are solo endeavours, but I do at times run in a group with my local club. Last weekend I ran 17 miles in the Fleetwood and Blackpool areas, so I am well on track in my preparation. I plan to run no longer that 21/22 miles prior to race day. If anyone is interested, you can find me on Strava where I record my progress throughout the week.

Since leaving University having qualified as a Social Worker the vast majority of my career has been spent working within a Youth Justice setting and Child Safeguarding but more recently, I am employed by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service in a role that incorporates the quality assurance of frontline practice.

During my time with both Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire Youth Offending Teams I always considered myself to be a strong advocate for the young people I supported in a variety of forums. I have always believed in working and living in the same community in which I served. I have no doubt that being visible in the community helped me to forge positive professional working relationships with the community at large and I was thus in a position to positively endorse the work of the Youth Offending Team but also dispel some of the prejudices some individuals may have with regard to the young people I worked with.

Activities such as reparation and restorative justice processes were an opportunity for the children to make amends for some of their actions but also, we endeavoured to introduce the young people to new skills and activities. We actively sought projects within our own communities and worked in conjunction with Councils, charities, youth projects etc to provide meaningful restorative actives for the children and following completion would benefit the wider community.

The work and activities some of the children completed gained not just local but also national recognition which proved empowering for many of the young people involved. Some examples of positive outcomes following our restorative justice activity include one young female who completed an arts and painting project we had co-ordinated in the town of Accrington. We produced a visual representation of the WW1 Accrington Pals and commemorative artwork was displayed in the area. This young woman is now a qualified Painter and Decorator and specialises in providing services for females who may live alone and prefer a female worker. 

One young male helped to restore an old gym that was due to be used as a site for young people to improve their fitness and boxing coaching was due to take place there free of charge. This young person had never boxed previously and asked if he could attend sessions when the gym was ready to receive membership. This individual is now a British and Commonwealth Boxing Champion.

Another young female conducted her restorative justice activity at a horse-riding centre that provided riding lessons for children and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. This person is now a qualified instructor at the same horse-riding centre and is often commended in the local press for the services she provides.

Thus, I welcome the opportunity to support the Margaret Carey Foundation at the Marathon this year as fundamentally I believe in the work and activity the Charity promotes. At the time of writing I believe my sponsorship collected to date is in the region of £600 but we obviously would welcome more donations and contributions. The link to my Virgin Money sponsorship page is:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DamianFleming1

At the time of writing it is 9 weeks until we are on the starting line and I will continue to provide updates on my progress.

Kind regards

Damian Fleming