I asked people in Bristol West to help me choose the charity I should support when running the London Marathon. Hundreds of people voted for their favourite good causes. The results are conclusive: almost half of you who voted asked me to raise money for Bristol Drugs Project’s youth groups, supporting children affected by their family members’ drug or alcohol use, when I run the London Marathon on 28 April.
This is a fantastic cause, helping children who have extremely difficult home lives. The groups give children the opportunity to get out for the evening and take part in activities their parents are often unable to coordinate or afford. These groups are the only structured alcohol and drug support for children under 11, offered across Bristol.
This is a project I really believe in. Bristol Drugs Project estimates that parents’ drug and alcohol use probably affects at least one child in every classroom in Bristol. The organisers tell me that the groups have a positive effect in building children’s confidence and social skills, potentially helping them throughout their lives. Raising money for such an important cause is motivating me to train even harder.
Bristol Drugs Project CEO Maggie Telfer was very grateful that the public had voted for me to support their initiative. In response, she wrote:
“We are more than delighted that Bristol Drugs Project’s Youth Groups will benefit from Thangam’s London Marathon run. Our groups support children and young people aged 5-16 whose mum, dad, brother or sister is experiencing problems with their alcohol or drug use. This is often a very lonely place to be.
“We are particularly pleased that we’ve been chosen by the public. We will embrace this opportunity to raise the needs of these young people in our communities and reduce the additional stigma which being a parent with an alcohol or drug problem attracts, as we, or rather Thangam, heads to the finish line on 28th April.”
Since I was elected in 2015 I have campaigned for reform of our drugs, which are patently not working. Drug use is particularly evident in many parts Bristol West. Our current laws do little to help those affected, including the children of drug users.
The runners-up: BUST and Avon Wildlife Trust
It would have been an honour to raise money for either of the other two runner-up charities – the Breast cancer Unit Support Trust (BUST) and Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT). Both these projects are raising money for extremely good causes. I will continue to support them in other ways.
Thank you to everyone who suggested a charity, or who voted for one of the three shortlisted options. The many hundreds of emails, messages and votes demonstrates how much Bristolians care about making the world a better place.