Mother leads Yorkshire three peaks team to thank charity that 'turned her life around'

Kathryn Blackburn and her son Zac. Picture: Forward LeedsKathryn Blackburn and her son Zac. Picture: Forward Leeds
Kathryn Blackburn and her son Zac. Picture: Forward Leeds
A mother who received "instrumental" help from a Leeds charity to beat alcohol dependency, and ended up working for the service to help others, will lead a group of her colleagues in tackling the Yorkshire three peaks challenge.

Support worker Kathryn Blackburn and her son Zac, now 13, were helped by Forward Leeds’s Family Plus service in 2016.

The team of 14 charity staff will aim to climb Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours on Saturday, to raise money for Family Plus, part of the alcohol and drugs service which works with the whole family, and in particular the children of those in treatment.

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Ms Blackburn first got help for significant issues around alcohol from a Forward Leeds worker based at her local GP’s Practice in late 2015, and then got additional support from the Family Plus team in 2016.

After volunteering with the charity's WY-FI project, which works with people with multiple disadvantages including addiction, homelessness, mental health and criminal justice issues, she joined the team at Forward Leeds as a staff member two years ago.

She said: “Forward Leeds is the service that was instrumental in helping me turn my life around. My son Zac and I were offered additional support from the service’s Family Plus team as part of my treatment.

“Family Plus was beyond invaluable for me at the time. I had a dedicated support worker who visited me regularly and helped me navigate the simple everyday life things that I had neglected.

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“Zac was supported by the Emotional Well-being Worker. It’s not easy for a nine-year-old to articulate their thoughts, feelings and emotions as their only parent is coming out of active addiction and the team really helped him.

“I genuinely don’t have enough words of appreciation for what the Family Plus team did to support us during that summer”.

The money raised by the 14 climbers will be used to fund fun family activities for the children of those in treatment for alcohol or drug issues. In the past these events have included Halloween and Christmas parties, cinema trips, crafting sessions and even meeting exotic animals.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks route is 24 miles and includes 1585m of climbs.

To sponsor the team you can go to their GoFundMe page.