A Surrey Quays woman is planning on walking 52km in one go to raise money for a homelessness charity.
Tessa Gooding, 33, will walk from Teddington Lock to the Thames Barrier with her rescue dog Thali to raise money for the 999 Club.
Her sponsored walk, which takes place on Saturday October 27, will give the charity money towards its respite and support services for homeless people.
Tessa, who is the co-founder of the Surrey Quays-based social enterprise Urban Patchwork, said: “I thought it was important to do something in London given the problem with homelessness in London in particular.
“There’s so many in temporary accommodation or having to be housed outside of London away from their jobs, schools and social networks.”
Most of the profits from Urban Patchwork, a residential sales and lettings agency she co-founded with her brother Toby, 37, in May last year, will go towards supporting homeless housing and support.
In addition, customers of the agency are encouraged to donate to the 999 Club – based in Deptford – on their website, with matched funding from Tessa and Toby.
She said: “I’ve always been interested in homeless and housing issues.
“I grew up in New Cross on Amersham Road with my brother and it was a very neglected place for many years.”
The pair hope through their lettings agency and charity work to help “people falling out the bottom of a system that doesn’t work.”
Homeless people often fail to get support because of bureaucracy, added Ms Gooding, meaning the work of charities like the 999 Club is vital.
Tessa suggested the idea for a social enterprise to her brother Toby – who has worked for as letting agent for fifteen years – after completing a planning degree in 2014.
Her past experience working in charity fundraising and volunteering in South Africa made her see how vulnerable people without adequate housing are, the Urban Patchwork director said.
She said: “I used to work in charity fundraising and I often felt as if I was plugging a hole for a system that didn’t work.
“I volunteered in South Africa for a few months and I was doing some writing for the Social Justice Coalition about poor sanitation and crime.
“People become so vulnerable if they don’t have adequate housing.”
Her brother Toby, who is a co-director of Urban Patchwork, cycled 100 miles earlier in the year for the homelessness charity – despite not having much time to train.
The pair have strong family links to the area which motivates them in their fundraising.
Tessa, who is currently living in Belvedere, said: “Our relatives have lived in Surrey Quays since 1998.
We first moved to New Cross in the early 80s, my parents were in business, they moved for the warehouses.”
Her first part-time job was at the Surrey Quays shopping centre Body Shop from age 16 to 18.
If you would like to donate to Tessa’s sponsored walk, you can click here for further information.