Local Fundraiser Continues Fitness Drive To Support Safe & Sound

A Derby father-of-three who started on a fitness drive as part of his lifestyle change to combat Type two diabetes, is raising money for a local charity through a series of challenges.

Simon Barcz (39) from Oakwood aims to raise thousands of pounds for Safe and Sound which specialises in grassroots work across Derbyshire that transforms the lives of children and young people who are victims or are at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE). 

Support workers help young people aged 18 and under to move forward with their lives and they raise awareness of the issue amongst local communities.

Mr Barcz, who is a heat treatment specialist at Gardner Aerospace in Derby, will firstly enter the Derby Half Marathon on June 9 alongside other members of Team Safe and Sound including Antoni Jones, a supervisor at Derby Express Couriers.

He then plans to complete the 55-mile Taff Trail from Cardiff to Brecon this summer before attempting his most gruelling challenge in November – trekking to the Everest base camp.

This final challenge will take 15 days to cover 115 km across difficult terrain and battling altitude sickness to reach heights of 19,000 ft above sea level.

Mr Barcz said: “I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes several years ago and my weight had ballooned to 24 stone.  That was my wake up call and I have set about changing my lifestyle with exercise and healthy eating.

“I am now 16 stone and still need to lose a bit more weight which can be challenging as I work regular nights so joining clubs can be difficult.

“It was very daunting at first to get off the sofa and out and about doing exercise not least as some people can be very unkind – shouting comments when they see someone overweight out walking or jogging.

“I have stuck with it though and it is good to have a goal to aim for.

“I did a 24-hour cycling challenge for Safe and Sound last year and I got talking to the staff about their work they did to support young people who have experienced horrible and very manipulative exploitation.

“I have two daughters aged 12 and 18 and a 22-year-old son so can appreciate the dangers that are potentially out there both online and directly from perpetrators who groom young people for their own ends.

“This is therefore a very worthwhile cause and I am training hard to ensure that I am ready for these challenges.

“I have tackled several half and full marathons and climbed many of the mountain ranges in the UK but covering this distance and altitudes to Everest base camp will be my ultimate challenge.

“I have pledges so far of £2,000 and my target is £4,000 so anything over that will be a bonus and I am very grateful to my sponsors JRU Building services and DBY Flooring.”

Safe and Sound chair Catherine Arkley continued: "As a small local charity we rely heavily on the commitment and generosity of fund raisers such as Simon and we are very grateful to him and all the members of Team Safe and Sound for their support.

“We work exclusively with young people in Derbyshire who are victims or are at risk of child sexual exploitation. Our specialist support workers help these young people come to terms with their experiences so that they are no longer trapped or defined by them.

"We also raise awareness in local communities so that they can recognise the warning signs of this form of abuse and know where to go for support.”

To support Simon Barcz’s efforts, please donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simon-barcz3. For more information about how to support Safe and Sound, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk and follow on Facebook and Twitter @safeandsoundgroup.

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