Badr Alanizay, a refugee from Bidoon in Kuwait, completed the Virgin Money London Marathon earlier this month thanks to the support of Active Lancashire and the Young People Forward project.
Badr (20) arrived in England in 2018 unable to speak English and with no family or friends to support him. However, after receiving life-changing assistance from the Lancashire-based Young People Forward project, Badr was able to upskill, make friends and embrace his passion and natural ability for sport.
The project, led by the Active Partnerships network, uses the power of sport and physical activity to improve the health, wellbeing and resilience of young homeless people. In 2020, the London Marathon Charitable Trust awarded a grant of £600,000 towards the project, following a donation from Virgin Money.
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the London Marathon and to celebrate the occasion, the Trust invited 40 individuals who had engaged with projects funded by their donations to take part in this year’s race.
Reflecting on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Badr said: “I have never done anything like this before and I wanted to give back to the Young People Forward project and Active Lancashire for what they had done for me. I was unhappy when I first went into supported accommodation but when I was introduced to the team at the Young People Forward project, I felt like I was somebody and they listened to me and have helped me find friends.”
"It was a great thing for me to be asked to represent the project in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and to make others understand more about homelessness. I feel this is a good way to make my family and friends proud in Bidoon, where I come from. I hope people can see that you can achieve anything if you are given an opportunity and I hope that I inspire other people to be more active. ”
Badr is currently receiving training towards coaching qualifications and is attending college. Alongside this, he has recently completed his Level 3 Maths and is currently studying English Language.
Jane Moodie, CSI Operations Manager at Active Lancashire, added: “We are so proud of what Badr has achieved through working with us on the Young People Forward Project. He is just 20-years-old and what a journey he has had already. I am so proud that he was able to represent himself at the London Marathon but also others like him. He is an impressive person and I know how has thrived from the support from our amazing team, Kristy Telford, Dave Bayliff and trainer Andy Mouncey.”
Embedded into the wider CSI programme, the Young People Forward project is one of a number of initiatives that works with partner organisations and individuals, using sport and physical activity as a positive intervention for those facing challenging circumstances in their lives. The project works specifically with young homeless people and offers additional support to those who embark on a journey out of homelessness.
If you have any questions about the CSI Programme or Young People Forward project, please visit the web page here contact or Jane Moodie: [email protected]