A RUNNING club has raised nearly £900 which has been used to buy essential items for homeless people.

Members of Dorchester RIOT, a running club for people from Dorchester and the surrounding areas, have raised £880 which has been used to buy items to fill shoeboxes and donated to the local charity Helping the Homeless and Vulnerable Adults in Dorchester.

More than 90 members of the club took on the ‘Every Mile Counts’ challenge where, over the course of one week in November, the group worked as a team to run as many miles as possible so they could ‘earn’ the shoebox items.

Club chairman Martin Mustoe said: “The members all donated the money themselves and we used it to buy the items that we put into the shoeboxes. However, we thought it would be fun to set mileage targets to keep them motivated.

“We had a totaliser which we used to measure how many miles were being run by the group collectively and each time they hit a milestone they unlocked more items which we would then put into the shoeboxes.

“We also had a fun extra challenge where members would have to find a specific door in Dorchester or Weymouth and take a selfie in front of it so it was great to keep the group motivated as well as working towards a great cause.”

The shoeboxes have been filled with hand warmers, thermal mugs, sweets, toothpaste and socks to help keep homeless people warm during the winter.

The club also raised enough to purchase larger essential items, including tents, sleeping bags, waterproof clothing and rucksacks which will be distributed by the charity.

Mr Mustoe said: “We managed to fill 15 shoeboxes with the donations that we raised which should be enough to give every homeless person that uses the charity a box to open around Christmas time.

“We hope we have not only had a positive impact by providing essential items to those less fortunate than us, but also for our runners during a time which has been difficult for many due to isolation and the varying effects of lockdown.”