Cardiff Half Marathon

Barnardo’s rookie runners take on the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon for Valleys families

A team of workers from the children’s charity Barnardo’s Cymru have a very personal reason for running in this year’s Principality Cardiff Half Marathon.

The team from the Rhondda Cynon Taf Resilient Families service, most of whom have never run in an event before, witness families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis first hand each day.

In recent months they have provided everything from food vouchers to beds and bedding for families they support across the Valleys. They were able to do so thanks to a special cost-of-living crisis appeal set up by Barnardo’s in direct response to the issues workers were seeing in the charity’s services.

They hope that by running the Cardiff Half they will be able to raise more funds for Barnardo’s to tackle the increased needs they see in their daily work. Those needs range from parents skipping meals so their children can eat, to families having to share beds or sleeping on floors.

Sarah Rowe, Children’s Services Manager with Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “We provide early support for around 1,000 families across the Valleys each year. We have been shocked by the number of homes where families are sharing beds, sleeping in broken beds or have no beds at all, and we are glad we’ve been able to help.

“A lot of our families need help with food items on top of what they can get from foodbanks. We also support mothers who have had to flee their homes for safety reasons and need nappies, milk and other basic baby supplies.”

Sarah has previously run the London Marathon and several half marathons to raise funds for Barnardo’s. This will be her 10th Cardiff Half. But other members of the Resilient Families’ team have never run before. They are all determined to finish the course, even if they walk most of it.

Sarah said: “I’m so proud of them. Running doesn’t come naturally to them all and they haven’t done anything that will challenge them in this was way before. It will be a real challenge training alongside busy jobs and their personal lives. But there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation when it was suggested we take part as a team and they are showing real commitment.

“They have such a level of care and empathy and do so much for the families we support.”

The service is run on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and provides early intervention for families who are struggling with a wide range of issues including trauma, poor mental health and the impact of domestic abuse. It helps build emotional resilience, provides budgeting support and ensures families have access to specialist services such as occupational therapists and psychologists.

Cardiff Half Marathon was originally set up 20 years ago by Barnardo’s which is a charity partner in this anniversary year.

If you would like to run for Team Barnardo’s in the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday, October 1, there are still a limited number of places. You will receive a free Barnardo’s running vest and VIP invitation to our post-race party where free sports massages will be on offer alongside refreshments and cake to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Barnardo’s founding the event.

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