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London marathon: Man helping residents fight evictions running for Children's Society

PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 April 2019

Peter Phillips. Picture: Peter Phillips.

Peter Phillips. Picture: Peter Phillips.

Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips is hoping to run his longest ever race while supporting a charity he knows first-hand makes a difference this year.

The 33-year-old Citizens Advice worker is running for the Children's Society, a charity that supports disadvantaged, abused and exploited children and young people.

This includes petitioning government on their behalf to get policy changed to help them.

“Now that I'm working for a charitable organisation myself, for the Citizens Advice Bureau, I really understand how much of a difference charities can make for individuals,” he said.

Peter helps people who are at risk of being evicted from their homes and informs them about their rights.

He's studying to become a solicitor while at the Bureau in Barking and Dagenham.

Despite this being his first marathon, it isn't his first time sweating for charity.

He ran for Cancer Research at the Richmond half marathon and the NSPCC at the Royal Park Half Marathon in 2017. Last year he competed for the London Legal Trust at the British 10K.

This year, he's already run the 13 miles as part of The Big Half in London.

He grew to love running and sport after coming to the UK from Nigeria with his family.

It was an outlet when he was bullied at school in the borough. Now he's hoping to make a difference for someone like him.

He said that he knew how much it means for a young person to have support, or just have someone to talk to.

“If you go to Barking, you'll see young children just standing in the street, not doing much with their talent, selling drugs or getting into trouble,” he said.

“There are options they could easily turn to if they are able to meet charities like the Children's Society, who can have a skilful worker who is able to listen to that individual story.

“Somebody teaching me back when I was young, that made me turn my life around.

“I could have easily joined a gang. Some of my friends joined a gang. They did end up doing drugs and crime and then going through the criminal justice system.”

This is the same reason he works for Citizens Advice.

“I could make more money if I worked for a City firm,” he said.

“But I would not get the same satisfaction in terms of trying to help the individual, especially where I grew up in Barking and Dagenham, where I saw the poverty first-hand.”

As of writing, Peter still needs more than £1,500 before the race of April 28. You can find his donation page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PeterPhillips28.

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