22 February 2023

Avani Solutions announces Only A Pavement Away as charity partner for 2023.

Avani Solutions is delighted to announce it has chosen the charity Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) as its cause for 2023.

The brainchild of hospitality industry representatives, Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) was founded in 2018 to be a conduit between hospitality employers and charities working with those facing homelessness, including prison leavers and veterans, to enable people to overcome barriers by finding work within the hospitality, pub, and restaurant industry.

Creating pathways to careers in hospitality

Founder Greg Mangham said: “Imagine facing homelessness or coming out of prison in need of career support or leaving the military injured.

To a person facing or experiencing homelessness, a café, a pub, a bar, a restaurant and, crucially, a job is only a pavement away.

Your confidence and self-esteem may be low. At ‘Only A Pavement Away’ we offer a pathway to a career in hospitality and wraparound support service.

To a person facing or experiencing homelessness, a café, a pub, a bar, a restaurant and, crucially, a job is only a pavement away”.

Running, walking, and cycling to raise funds and awareness

As part of Avani’s partnership with the charity, members of the team – including co-founders Amanda Thomson and Michael Harper and Account Manager Matt Russell – will take part in the OAPA London Landmarks Half Marathon in April and Pedalling 2 Pubs, a 240 km circular bike ride around the Yorkshire Wolds in June.

As well as the above activities, co-founder Michael Harper warmed up in January by running The Peddars Way Ultra (48 miles) and will be taking part in the 145-mile Grand Union Canal Race in May, followed by running in the Avani team relay at Endure24 Leeds in June.

A family tragedy

Michael says one of the reasons for joining forces with OAPA, was the sudden death of his brother around five years ago.

“As a family, we couldn’t reach my brother because he was a long way away and was experiencing significant mental health issues and he didn’t talk to anybody,” he explains.

“Then things just sort of escalated. We got a phone call to say that he was on life support – but he didn’t survive.”

After losing his brother Michael found himself trying to understand what he must have been going through – and wondering at what point his mental state went from being okay to not okay.

Running helped Michael process his loss

It was at this point that he and Amanda started running and he says it helped him come to terms with the loss of his brother by finding a connection with him even though he was gone.

In 2019 Michael and Amanda embarked on a series of runs around the UK to raise money and awareness for mental health. They developed their own 5K park run routes around all the Haven Holiday parks, logging each one on the Strava app.

Avani’s partnership with OAPA feels like the next step on that journey and another way to use running and cycling to help people who need support.

Twenty-one half marathons in 2021

“We raised money for Mental Health UK,” says Michael, “and then in 2021 we did twenty-one half marathons and raised more money for mental health charity Mind.”

He adds that Avani’s partnership with OAPA feels like the next step on that journey and another way to use running and cycling to help people who need support.

“The fact is, anyone could be forced into a situation where they’re impacted by very challenging life circumstances.”

“At Avani, we try to recognise that”.

A host of Avani activities throughout 2023

“One of the things we’ve taken steps towards is to support members of our team who are using running and walking to improve their mental health and physical fitness by operating a sort of Avani Running Club using the Strava app.”

The business is also organising some professional coaching for the team running Endure24 as well as setting up a weekly exercise session that all colleagues can take part in remotely.

“It’s the collective efforts of our entire team that will make the difference. This isn’t about the running or cycling challenges of just one person. A 5km walk can be a significant achievement and we want to celebrate everyone’s efforts.”

Avani colleagues have set themselves a challenge to simultaneously participate in a 5km Park Run, wherever they are throughout the UK.

“I’m going to get such a buzz from knowing that our team is out there, walking, jogging, running a 5km route together but separately, all in the name of this great cause,” Michael says.

Sponsor Avani’s running, walking, and cycling efforts and help raise money for OAPA by visiting the Avani Solutions Just Giving page.

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