Flintshire County Council’s Chief Officer (Social Services), Neil Ayling, is in training to complete the historic Pilgrims’ Way trek this month to raise money for national learning disability charity Hft.
Neil, 57, from Flintshire, is taking on the challenge to raise money to buy an interactive whiteboard which will be used to teach employability skills as part of the charity’s partnership with DFN Project SEARCH initiative, a Supported Internship programme for young adults with learning disabilities.
The famous Pilgrims’ Way, known locally as the Welsh Camino, follows a major chalk ridge through scenic towns and villages. Neil plans to begin his trek at Greenfield, completing his 137 mile journey one week later at Aberdaron. Although a keen walker, completing such a distance will be a first for Neil who has been climbing Moel Famau in North Wales as part of his training. Joined by a friend, the two will set off from Hft’s Hwb Dyffryn service on the morning of 25 September where the staff and the people they support will wave them off with a cheer.
As Chair of the Learning Disability Transformation Project in North Wales, Neil has built a close relationship with Hft Flintshire and is an ardent supporter of the charity’s work.
“I have worked with the team at Hft to build and develop first class services to people with learning disabilities and autism, as good as, if not better than anything available in the UK. Hft is a real positive, can do organisation just like Flintshire Council, so we work really well together.
I have never walked this far before in one go and I think it will be a real challenge to keep going for a full week, completing 20 miles per day over the lovely Welsh hills. Still, best foot forward and plenty of plasters for blisters!”
Hft’s Sporting and Challenge Events Fundraising Manager Emma MacDonald said:
“We are so proud and delighted that Neil has decided to take on this incredible challenge to raise vital funds for Hft Flintshire. Neil and Flintshire County Council have worked so successfully together many times over the years, and we truly appreciate their valuable support. We wish Neil all the luck in the world for this adventure of a lifetime”
If you would like support Neil, please donate here.
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk
Location: Hft Flintshire