On Sunday Aril 2nd, in conjunction with North West Powerlifting, we hosted a charity deadlift competition in support of The Booth Centre.
The idea developed some months ago from the Fighting Fit Powerlifting Club and they ran with it to make it an overwhelming success. The gym is based in the Green Quarter of Manchester and we have seen a dramatic increase in homelessness in the city as a whole but specifically in our locality.
The Booth Centre is a nearby charity that aims to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and help them plan for and realise a better future. They do this by providing activities to help people rebuild their confidence and learn something new whilst having fun. They run arts, employment and skills sessions daily and offer everyone a healthy breakfast and lunch. Advice is available to help people find accommodation and overcome the practical difficulties they are facing. The Booth Centre isn't about helping homeless people live on the streets with food or blankets; they're aiming for something better; to get those homeless people back into homes.
It's easy to think of homeless people as lazy, or wasters but in a lot of cases it just isn't true. People can often be a victim of a difficult set of circumstances or falling through cracks in the system. The reasons are often complicated; for example one in ten homeless people nationally is ex-military, struggling to adjust back to civilian life, studies have also shown domestic abuse to be a common cause of homelessness. The Booth Centre themselves say 85% of the people coming to them suffer with mental health problems.
We wanted to help The Booth Centre help people get back into work, get a place to live and get back their dignity. Last year, they did just that, getting more than 100 people into work and more than 300 into either temporary or permanent accommodation; we know they can do more with more support. When you see homeless people on the street, you can often feel helpless; like whatever you can spare to help that individual isn't going to make a difference. Well, we wanted to really make a difference, even if helps just one person get into work, into a home, to feel like a real human being again. What better way for a powerlifting gym to help than by lifting stuff up?
The response to this event was immediately overwhelming. Entrants started rolling in and donations from companies for prizes exceeded expectations. They included:
JD Sports - 2x £100 gift vouchers
NW Strength Expo - 4x VIP passes
Mike Woodhall, Fighting Fit Nutritionist - One month nutrition package
Time4Nutrition - Michael Harvey/NoGymRequiredPT - Huge supplement & clothing bundles
Dom Kinsey, Iron Warrior Strength - £150 Powerlifting/Movement Clinic
RAZORSTORM - 3x hoodies
BULK POWDERS - 2x 2.5kg protein, creatine, shakers
Bear Strength - 2x £10 gift vouchers
VODI - 2x hoodies, wrist wraps, shakers
Dolce Gusto JOVIA coffee machine & your lifting fuel packages courtesy of Debbie Storr/Nestle
Wow, right? All donations were greatly appreciated and made the event extra special. Thank you to all who contributed.
We were lucky to have the legendary Joe Whiteley MCing all day, keeping the competition exciting and running smoothly. Assisted on the table by the fabulous Katy who kept your attempts in check and undertook the scoresheet wizardry. A huge thank you to Dr Rick Booth and Pete Ratcliffe who gave up their Sunday and sat in the refs’ chairs all day and to Dom Kinsey & Jo Whiteley who pitched in to keep you lot in check! Jo came straight off the platform and into the chair having pulled a huge 182.5kg deadlift - impressive! The platform crew who worked tirelessly all day headed up by Stuart who was kept in check by Andrea & Ste and later Vic & Scarlett who had both been on the platform in the first session.
In the end, we received 42 entrants across male and female categories ranging from absolute beginners who had not competed before to seasoned powerlifters. Regardless of experience, the spirit and camaraderie was the same. There was a fantastic turn out from spectators and the support for every lift was amazing. Personal bests were set and beaten and some outstanding lifts were witnessed.
We saw a huge 300kg deadlift from the Big ‘un from Wigan, an impressive 185kg deadlift from Elfie - both overall winners of the day. Elfie, in fact, had the highest Wilkes score overall - there is no stopping that girl!
The whole thing was photographed by Takiyah Daly and Jon Timmins so, expect a gallery to follow soon.
Huge thanks must go to North West Powerlifting Media Officer and Fighting Fit team member, Kim Cowell for taking on the task of organising the event. Kim dedicated large amounts of time and ensured that everything ran extremely smoothly. Kim was helped out by the rest of the Fighting Fit Powerlifting gym team: Stuart Lorne, Clare Patterson, Jon Wilkinson, Joe Lyons, Scarlett Portues and Pete Robinson.
So far, the figure raised stands at £1750. Amazing, right? We know that this will be put to great use but we'll have updates on the projects that the donation will assist.
For anyone and everyone who joined in with this event: thank you, you should feel very proud. For those that couldn't: we'll see you next time.