The second annual Run For Rhys 5K takes place in less than two weeks, and this year the event will also include a family fun afternoon.

The event takes place on Sunday, 26 August, in the grounds of Croxteth Hall and Country Park. The 1 Mile Fun Run is a 11am, with the 5K at 12pm.

Run For Rhys celebrates the life of 11-year-old Rhys Jones from Croxteth. The young Everton fan was innocently caught in the cross-fire between two rival gangs, and was shot as he walked home from football training in Croxteth. Rhys lost his life on 22 August 2007.

The Rhys Jones Community Centre in Croxteth created the Run For Rhys 5K last year as an annual positive legacy event in his memory. Run For Rhys has the blessing of Rhys’ parents Mel and Steve Jones.

The event provides a platform to remember Rhys, while raising much-needed funds so the centre can continue its vital work in the local community.

Last year’s Run For Rhys raised £4,000 through fundraising and donations – and organisers are hoping to beat that total this year.

Following the 1 Mile and 5K fun runs, the fundraising event will continue into the afternoon with stalls, entertainment and fun activities for all the family including arts and crafts, games and sports demonstrations.

It costs £60,000 a year to run and maintain the Rhys Jones Community Centre and relies solely on fundraising, donations and grants. It receives no funding from Liverpool City Council.

This includes £10,000 a year to maintain its two artificial football pitches, which form a key part activity, being used six days and five evenings a week.

The Rhys Jones Community Centre first opened in August 2013. Each week the centre welcomes almost 300 young people aged between three and 16-years-old through its doors, as well as 250 adults weekly. This amounts to supporting 1,500 young people per year which is steadily rising.

Its key focus areas with young people are building enterprise, business and leadership skills; inspiring change; raising aspirations; and improving health and well being.

The centre offers low cost after school and holiday clubs; six health and well-being subsidised classes per week including sports coaching, yoga, exercise and dance classes; workshops for music, literacy, cookery, recycling, arts and crafts – offering a much-needed lifeline for families in the local area.

Sharon Jardine, a director of the Rhys Jones Community Centre, commented:

“The main focus of the Rhys Jones Community Centre is to raise aspirations, give hope and strengthen community unity in Croxteth. We’ve worked extremely hard over the last 12 months to further establish the centre as a community hub. Seeing regular faces, young people and their families, return week after week means we are on the right track.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation and every penny raised goes straight back into the centre to grow and develop the range of activities and services we can offer. Every £1 donated or raised enables us to deliver £2.30 of value of social impact – so every penny really does count and goes a very long way.

“We were overwhelmed with the £4,000 raised through last year’s Run For Rhys. Delivering and introducing new programmes, and seeing our youngsters, young adults and their families develop, grow and thrive is what motivates us to do the very best for the centre in Rhys’ memory.”

The range of activities and clubs hosted by the centre are already extensive, and they hope that by raising additional funds the programmes can be increased further.

Only recently, the youngsters have started a gift shop as part of their enterprise activity. They are making gift sets to sell, with funds going back into this project so it can continue to grow.

While the girls’ club have been creating handmade bunting, which will be used to decorate the arts and crafts activity stalls at this year’s Run For Rhys.

The centre already assists young people and adults with depression and anxiety, and is now in the process of setting up listening service Croxteth Healthy Minds to offer mental health support.

The team work closely with other youth organisations to educate young people around gun, gang and knife crime, and have are now working with Anfield and North Liverpool Boxing Club to support their anti-knives campaign, Real Men Don’t Carry Knives.

Run For Rhys 2018 takes place on Sunday, 26 August at Croxteth Hall and Country Park. The 1 Mile Fun Run starts at 11am, followed by the 5K at 12pm. There is no lower age restriction to encourage families to take part – run, jog or walk, all welcome.

A full programme of activity for the family fun afternoon will be announced this week.

Those attending are asked to bring an item along for the Rhys Jones Community Centre food bank to support local families:

  • Food items required – cereal; soup; pasta; rice; tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce; lentils, beans and pulses; tinned meat; tinned vegetables; tea and coffee; tinned fruit; biscuits; UHT milk, fruit juice; and baby food;
  • Toiletries – deodorant; toilet paper; shower gel; shaving gel; shampoo; soap; toothbrushes and toothpaste, feminine products; nappies; and baby wipes;
  • Household items – laundry liquid detergent; laundry powder; washing up liquid.

Everyone who takes part in 1 Mile Fun Run or 5K will receive a bespoke specially designed technical running T-shirt, available beforehand so it can be worn for the run. All finishers will also receive a commemorative medal.

Fun run registration fees pay to stage and deliver all aspects of the event, including race numbers, T-shirts and medals. Register for the 5K or 1 Mile at http://www.btrliverpool.com/run-for-rhys

A virtual run option is also available for anyone unable to take part on the day but would still like to be part of the event.

Participants are encouraged to fundraise for the Rhys Jones Community Centre. Sponsor forms are available or donations can be made online and direct to https://localgiving.org/charity/rhys-jones-community-centre-cic/

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