Support through Sport UK spoke to James Gilley, Founder of SPAT ...
 
Hi James. First off, we have to ask what SPAT stands for?
 
Social Purpose And Time, which essentially outlines what we aim to provide - and taking the time to do it is the key ingredient. Over time, we abbreviated the name to SPAT.
 
What is the aim of SPAT?
 
Our aim is to actively tackle the issue of homelessness and the prevalent pessimism amongst the homeless, vulnerable and at-risk. We provide our members with opportunities and encouragement to further their personal development in order to counteract addictions, cancel out harmful repeated patterns and replace social circles. Ultimately, we want to improve physical health and mental stability.
 
How is SPAT attempting to achieve this aim?
 
Through the power of running, fitness and nutrition in a safe and supportive community. SPAT currently acts as a bolt-on service to existing programmes; hence our members are focused, committed and open towards us. Sessions run three times a week and two of those days are dedicated to running with a professional trainer. We reserve the other day a week for other forms of physical activity. SPAT operates an incentive scheme based on goal setting and rewards. ‘Earn Your Kit’ is an essential part of the programme where members earn their kit by committing to a minimum of 75% attendance throughout the six months. Members enter races, challenges and events that not only act as incentives but form essential bonding opportunities. 
 
What prompted you to launch SPAT?
 
Growing up, I was inspired by the work that my uncle (Jeremy Gilley) was doing with his organisation - Peace One Day. In March 2011, I lost a dear friend who died from heroin overdose. This was the turning point in my life - I decided whole-heartedly that I wanted to give something back and do something positive for young people who are struggling in society.
 
What support have you had?
 
SPAT is only able to achieve its goals thanks to the incredible, and generous, support of its sponsors. Vivobarefoot provide us with barefoot shoes for our members, and our staff, as well as delivering expert seminars and practical sessions where they teach us injury-free running techniques. Viridian Nutrition supply us with supplements, including multi-vitamin, Omega-3 and probiotics, to rebuild the inner body. They also deliver healthy-eating seminars and cooking workshops with professional chefs. Oomf! supply us with bench pressed oats (porridge) for a healthy kick-start to our days and Pret A Manger supply us with their freshly prepared, healthy and natural food for after our evening session. SPAT will always need sponsors to tackle the next obstacle.
 
If people want to help out or get involved in any way, where can they find out more?
 
If anyone thinks they might be able to volunteer or contribute to our sessions, or help provide us with the necessary equipment with which we can expand our programme, they should get in touch at run@spat.org.uk. Otherwise, check out our website, follow us on Twitter (@SPAT_UK) and Facebook (/SocialPurposeAndTime) and help to spread the word! Your support is massively appreciated.
 
Thanks for talking to Support through Sport UK, James, you're doing some amazing work.