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The Journal looks at how your Fun Run sponsorship money helps those hitting hard times thanks to the work of the Hornsey YMCA.

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Countdown to Fun Run

With less than a month to go, the adult race on May 20 is completely full and closed to entries.

There were only a few places left in many of the children’s races as the Journal went to press – enter at www.enter4.co.uk

If anyone would like join the 150-strong team of volunteers, contact race director Hayley Ballard on 020 8340 6088 or email hayley.ballard@ymcahornsey.org.uk

When Abdul Lahmer arrived at Hornsey YMCA last May, he was close to rock-bottom.

With no job, he had been sleeping rough and had little family around to turn to.

But less than a year on, the 24-year-old has a job, a home and aspirations to better himself.

“I came to the YMCA when I was really, really down,” he says. “I was homeless, I did not have a place and I did not even have that much family here to go to.”

It was the help given by the YMCA which allowed Abdul to completely turn his life around.

With a roof over his head, he got to work on his CV - and it wasn’t long before his previous experience working in kitchens as a sous-chef came to the notice of the YMCA.

By July, Abdul had secured himself a job in the canteen. By November, he had his own place.

“I got everything sorted,” he said. “Knowing that I am going to work, it is really interesting and good for me.”

What’s more, Abdul doesn’t plan to settle with just working in the canteen. “I would like to run the canteen at the YMCA,” he says.

Another resident, Linda Gbadamosi, found herself homeless after being evicted by her landlord, and turned up on the doorstep of the hostel.

While the 21-year-old is still struggling to save towards a deposit on her own place, she now has a roof over her head and has got herself work in an after-school club.

Abdul remains positive about the prospects for people like him. “I would like to say to my friends - they are in every hostel - to work hard to get out, to get a job and not just stop because you’ve got a little place in a hostel, got a little money,” he says. “You just need to get out of this ‘short life’.

“To the other people, I would like to say please, please - we need that money. There is lots of people and they really, really need help.”

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