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Aqasa's story 

Read on to hear about Aqasa's work with care-experienced young people, his running and how Become has helped both him and the young care leavers he works with.

Aqasa’s story

When I run, my mind becomes unstuck. I focus on the run, the route, and the surroundings. I’m thrilled by my body’s ability to do this, to respond, navigate and at times accelerate.  The wail of life’s complexities and competing demands is quietened down and replaced with an unwavering ‘can do’ attitude.  When I run I feel alive, I feel strong and that anything is possible.

I prefer to run in the morning. I have some incredible running friends and we’re often out at 0630, rain or shine (or snow or heat).  My running buddies keep me accountable, joyful, and have helped me enormously with running tips and my fundraising.

I’ve been working with care leavers, over the age of 18, for nearly 2 decades. There have been some improvements but there remains no room for complacency, we need to do a lot more. We can and must do a lot more. Testimonials from care leavers in the recent review of Children’s Social Care: The Case for Change (2021) illustrate what we need to do, immediately.

The care leavers I work with all know they’re on my team and that whilst we’re not starting from the same place, we’re all moving forward.

“Become is an essential ally. Once a care leaver always a care leaver and Become help care-experienced young people to get answers, their entitlements and justice even if their ‘case’ has been closed to their ‘corporate parent’.”

Before accepting this challenge my love of running had been ignited by attending Parkrun. Parkrun is a free 5k event held on Saturday mornings all around the UK and in 23 other countries. The sense of community and upliftment I’ve experienced, and the friendships formed are unquantifiable. Parkrun attracts millions of runners and walkers every week, its success is rightly celebrated. What is not widely known is that the founder of the event, Paul Sinton-Hewitt is a care leaver.

When I see the achievements of the care leavers I’ve worked with, I see the positive contribution that care leavers can make. With Malik Al Nour, Aliyah Ali, Lemn Sissay and Alex Wheatle adding to the cultural landscape of this country I dream about how much richer we can all be by enabling care leavers to realise their potential.

I was born in London, I live in London, I work in London and this half-marathon will be in London. Famous streets, iconic landmarks and super crowds. I can’t wait to don my Become race top at The Big Half and soak it all up.

When I run I dream of what is possible. At work, I can be confronted by the impossible. But with allies like Become, we can make the impossible possible.

Meet Aqasa – Big Half Runner, Fundraiser and Ally
3 responses

  1. Shona Barker says:

    July 22, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    Really inspirational read. Good luck raising money for this terrific cause, Aqasa!

  2. Anna-Lou Manca says:

    July 23, 2022 at 6:42 am

    An incredible testimony from someone who has been fighting the good fight all of their professional life. Can’t wait to cheer you on at the Big Half!

  3. Kristy Foster says:

    September 4, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Congratulations Aqasa, looks like you had a ball! And for such a great purpose 🙂

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