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Looking for a new years challenge?

A TEAM of Town Planners has initiated a 2021 challenge – to make a virtual journey from Land’s End to John o’ Groats to raise money for Durham Action on Single Housing!

Chris Pipe

In light of the current coronavirus crisis, Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House, wanted to set herself and the team a challenge to lift their spirits and give them a focus for the year.

“My team have all worked from home for a few years now and we know how difficult it can be at the best of times, so I wanted to set us a challenge that would keep us all physically and mentally well in the coming months”.

Helen Heward

Initially Chris and her all-female team of Planning Consultants, Helen Heward and Claire Hattam, intended to take on the challenge themselves and raise some money for DASH, which provides accommodation with support to people who are homeless or are about to become homeless.

But as the coronavirus crisis has unfolded in recent months, Chris decided to open up the challenge to others and the response has been fantastic!

“I thought we might get a few teams to sign up, but we’ve had more than 20 teams, consisting of over 50 runners so far – and registrations are still coming in. We would love to push it up to 50 teams to make it a real challenge!”

Chris’ company, Planning House, is organising the event. There is a £10 entry fee, which is donated in full to DASH. There are prizes for the team (or individual) who completes the challenge first and every participant who successfully completes the challenge will receive a medal. Planning House are also going to provide a prize for the individual or team who raises the most money for DASH.

Gary Eaborn

DASH chairman Gary Eaborn said:DASH provides housing and support to single homeless people and those who are vulnerably housed.

“This work is funded mainly through grants and income from rents and service charges.

“Grant income has not increased for several years but running costs have increased year on year, so any funds raised for DASH helps to maintain the vital services we provide.

DASH residents attending a healthy cooking on a budget class

“The housing and support DASH provides has a positive impact on homelessness in County Durham and help people who were previously homeless or people at risk of becoming homeless to gain more stability in their lives and help them to move on to permanent housing.

“We are so grateful to Planning House and every single participant in the Dash4Dash challenge for their support, for the funds and awareness this initiative will raise, and wish them lots of luck.”

Chris says: “We really want to support DASH and raise as much money as we possibly can, but we do want to stress that it is not the sole focus – we want people to take part to help improve their physical and mental health at this difficult time.

“Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.

“The entry fee of £10 per person will be donated in full to DASH, so if that’s all you want to do then that is fine by us!

The challenge consists of running (or walking) 874 miles, which is the same distance as Land’s End to John o’ Groats, by midnight on 31st December 2021. Each run/walk should be a minimum of 2 miles and participants can take part individually or in teams of up to 4 people.

“Some seasoned runners might get through the challenge very quickly, but for most people the aim is to get outside once or twice a week throughout the year.”

For more information and to register for the challenge, visit

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