Raising money for VAL and the WiLL Project

Luke completed the #CalenderClub challenge in a bid to raise money for VAL and the WiLL Project in honour of his father Kevin.

The Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) programme help people who are economically inactive or unemployed who are living in rural Leicestershire to move into job search, training, or employment. Providing volunteer support and opportunities for people to gain experience and confidence.

Back in May, Luke was challenged to run every day, increasing his distance by a mile each day, for two weeks. On the final day he decided to run from his home town in Lowdham to Mansfield Woodhouse where his family live. Over the course of the 2 weeks he ran 106 miles, which equates to 4 marathons.

This #CalanderClub Challenge was all in aid of raising money for Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) and the Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) project who supported his father Kevin through a tough time.

Kevin’s Story

Despite working throughout his life as a Coal miner and subsequently starting up his own gardening business, Kevin’s mental health started to rapidly decline as did his physical health when a move to Newquay a few years ago left him isolated and struggling to find gardening work.

Kevin found out about the WiLL Project through VAL, and he felt like this project could help him get back on track. Working closely with his keyworker and with other partners, including Vista, they began to construct a list of priorities to work through. For Kevin, this was addressing the low income he was receiving and looking at better ways to manage his money and well-being.

Over several months, the WiLL team supported Kevin by addressing issues with Universal Credit as he was unable to cope mentally and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, meeting up with his keyworker and other members of the team consistently helped break his cycle of isolation and subsequently he was given financial assistance.

Now able to afford transport, amongst other things, he has been able to visit his son Luke more frequently, found his mojo and started to enjoy life again. He’s met a new partner and is enjoying looking after their dogs with less financial stress. He’s also started playing golf again and treated himself to a new saxophone to rediscover his musical talents.

Approaching his 60th birthday this year, Kevin’s outlook is now far more positive and he is looking forward to getting back into some part-time gardening work and enjoying life and his impending retirement once again.

“None of this would have been made possible if it wasn’t for VAL and their wonderful WiLL project”. Kevin Smith

Seeing the changes the project made to his father is what encouraged Luke to take on the “hardest challenge” he has set himself.

“Thank you to all of the WiLL team that have helped dad get on his feet. After being so dark for such a long time, you’ve changed a good man’s life. You’ve changed our lives and things are so much better now. “

The WiLL project continue to support participants to move into education and training, job search and employment throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.


On behalf of all the staff on the WiLL Project and Voluntary Action Leicestershire we would like to say a huge Thank you to you for your kind donation. The monies donated will enable us to continue to support people who are unemployed in rural Leicestershire – Thank you again we really appreciate it!

The Work.Live Leicestershire (WiLL) Project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and The European Social Fund. It is delivered in partnership with Voluntary Action LeicesterShire.