A GROUP of council bosses inspired by Team GB’s record-breaking success at the Rio Olympics will lace up their running shoes to send a group of vulnerable children on the “trip of a lifetime”.
Rotherham Borough Council’s chief executive Sharon Kemp, children’s services director Ian Thomas and Hoober councillor Brian Steele hope to raise £9,000 to send the borough’s youngsters from its Looked After Children’s Council (LACC) to Poland.
The LACC is a group of 11-to-18-year-olds who are in care or in the process of leaving care, who are encouraged to work together and influence decisions about youngsters in care.
Mr Thomas and Cllr Steele said they wanted to arrange the trip after hearing about how one 16-year-old boy called Simon wanted to trace his late Polish father’s heritage.
Simon said: "I am just so grateful to all the people who want to raise this money to send us all to Poland. I miss my Dad so much and to be able to visit the place where he was from and what made him the person he was is a dream of a lifetime for me.
"Thank you to everyone who has already pledged their support and please, please get behind this good cause and help us all to live my dream. I know this will have a tremendous effect on me and my peers, if we get to go.”
The council hopes to send 14 youngsters on the Destination Poland trip next spring, which will also see them visit the Schindler’s Factory Museum in Krakow.
Mr Thomas said: “This is a trip of a lifetime for these children. Simon’s story really struck a chord with me and I knew I had to do something to help him achieve his dream.”
Mr Thomas and Cllr Steele will lace up for a ten-mile walk around Thrybergh Country Park on Saturday, September 17, while Ms Kemp and other leaders will complete a relay marathon at Herringthorpe Stadium two days earlier.
Mr Thomas added: “These children have had hard issues to deal with in their young lives and if we can raise the money to help them with their cause it will be a massive boost for them.”
Ms Kemp said: “When Ian told me about Simon’s story I wanted to help.
“Not only will this be a huge adventure for these children, but it will also be an educational visit which I know they will never forget.”
To sponsor the teams visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/destination-poland.