Spurgeons’ staff member Katie Lavender is taking on an incredible fundraising challenge
Spurgeons’ staff member Katie Lavender is taking on an incredible fundraising challenge by running the Amsterdam Marathon in October.
Katie has never run a marathon before. ‘If I finish it without needing medical help then I’m going to be very happy!’ she says.
Working at Winchester prison
Katie is a member of staff after previously volunteering at HMP Winchester, and helps in the family visitation centre.
‘It’s the kind of project that is under-represented. The ladies who work for Spurgeons there are just absolutely amazing at what they do,’ she says. ‘I hear from visitors who have been to other prisons that this (Spurgeons at HMP Winchester) is so much better. Hopefully one day in the future every prison will have something like this.’
Spurgeons offer a number of services at Winchester prison, including Invisible Walls, which works with the prisoners and their families to reduce trauma for the children.
‘People expect the prison to be this upsetting experience for the children,’ Katie says, ‘but what Spurgeons have managed to do is create a place in that prison that isn’t sad at all. Now these children walk in as if it’s somewhere they like being. Feeling comfortable for that child is so important.’
Katie finds her days working with the families at the prison fulfilling. ‘There are days that are hard and upsetting but for the most part you get to witness happiness and excitement, and a pleasant experience for the family,’ she says.
‘I love, love, love when they come out of their visit and they tell us how much easier it was because of the play area. I don’t work there for the pay. You come home and feel like you’ve done something good for other people. When we were choosing which charity to raise money for it was a no-brainer.’
A new experience
Katie has never run a marathon before, and signed up with her brother on a whim in June. ‘I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again!’, she says. ‘I wasn’t unfit before but definitely not fit enough to be doing something like that. I have really enjoyed the training. It’s been so tough but my brother and boyfriend have been helping me. We have committed 100%.’
The Amsterdam Marathon starts and finishes in the Olympic Stadium and covers 26 miles of terrain.