Welcome, Ben Smith! 

On Friday 16th March 2016, young people at The Station had the incredible opportunity to meet and be inspired by Ben Smith, the founder of the multi award-winning The 401 Challenge. Funded by Comic Relief and #iwill National Lottery Fund, our sessions engage some of the most disadvantaged young people in Bristol. 

The 401 Challenge saw inspirational Ben Smith complete 401 marathons in 401 days. Since then he has achieved greatly, receiving the Helen Rollason Award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year show in 2016.  

Now, he uses his heroic story to inspire others, be it young or old, aiming to end negative stigmas surrounding bullying and mental health. Ben visited the project and delivered a speech about how sport has changed his life and mental health. He then had the opportunity to meet the young people and see first-hand how money raised during Sport Relief will be used.

  

Inspiration for young people

We work with young people facing disadvantages in Bristol. All of the young people experience barriers that are preventing them from flourishing. Many of them are marginalised, unemployed, not in education, suffer poor mental health, are in care (or are care leavers), are asylum seekers, refugees, disabled, from low income households or are an ethnic minority.

Our work helps young people build trusting relationships, get young voices heard and provides a wide range of activities that help young people reach their goals.

Young people were inspired by Ben's story and one of them felt confident enough to share their own story of being involved in a serious car accident, and feeling powerless afterwards and finding strength through sport. They were grateful and saw the importance of Ben's work, inspiring them to look forward to the future.

Ben Smith said: 

It’s a real privilege to meet so many wonderful people and see how Comic Relief funding enables them to come together.

Sport Relief is a great campaign that promotes two of my biggest passions, sport and fundraising. Having struggled with poor mental health and feelings of exclusion in the past, this year’s campaign is close to my heart and what better way to support than to get up doing steps and being active. I will be sure to get in my Sport Relief steps over the next week using the app!

Nick Young, our Creative Director said:

I am thrilled to have someone such as Ben come along to our session and inspire some of our young people with his story.

We are grateful for Comic Relief funding and how this supports programmes that we run at Creative Youth Network. Our organisation brings together young people from across Bristol and works to support them in a wide range of ways, and something like this is a welcome addition to our ongoing work.

The project is funded equally by Comic Relief and the #iwill fund, which is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding.

Last time around, for Sport Relief 2016, the generous people across the West raised and donated more than £1.2m. This money has been hard at work in the local area, with more than 100 projects funded across the region.

For more information on how to get involved with this year’s Sport Relief campaign, download the Sport Relief App or go to sportrelief.com.

To get involved in inspirational youth sessions, check out our programme.