Dale Wilkinson from Edinburgh is taking part in Dog Jog Edinburgh in July to say thank you 6VT Youth Cafe in Edinburgh and raise money to support their Cairn Project which supports young victims of crime.

Dale explained: “I first visited 6VT when I was just 14 years old. I’d gone through a difficult time as a young person and found a safe, welcoming space there. I started living at Edinburgh’s Drummond Street when I when I was 16 and was suddenly responsible for managing and running a household”.

He went on to describe the incredible support he received from 6VT.

“6VT’s support at this time was immeasurable. An elderly relative of one of the staff members had passed away and as such, I was offered their basic household goods which enabled me to set up home. As well as this, I benefited from a course they provided – Keysteps, that helps young people gain the necessary skills required when living independently.

How do you pay a bill if you never have? How do you cook basic meals? How do you keep yourself safe and be a responsible tenant? 6VT was a great source of support at a crucial time in my early life and showed me how” he said.

In 2013, to show his thanks to 6VT, Dale ran the Edinburgh Marathon and raised funds to help other young people in need.

“I am now very excited to be running Dog Jog with another of 6VT’s success stories – Skylar!”

Lacing his running shoes once again, Dale is running 5k at Edinburgh’s Dog Jog in July alongside his canine companion, 7 year old Collie Skylar.

The Dog Jog Series provides a brilliant opportunity for runners to accomplish their personal goals with their dogs; whether raising money for a worthwhile cause or simply keeping fit.

Dog Jogs are all about a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere for everyone involved with no time limits or pressure. Each participant will receive a Doggy Bag jam-packed with goodies for both runner and dog to enjoy once they cross the finish line. There’s no other event like it in the UK.

The events are also a great way for participants to raise money for a charity they really care about, whether it be a dog-related charity or otherwise.

Having faced a difficult start in life herself Skylar found herself homeless and in need of a new home. She finally found her forever home in the care of two families, one member of which works with 6VT.

“Skylar goes to 6VT a couple of times a month and spends her time with teenagers at the drop in, where young people talk about difficult times and how this affects them trusting people. She is then in great demand for big hugs!”

“She also occasionally attends the toddler group 6VT run and has also been out on “walk and talk” sessions which involves a member of staff going out for a walk with a young person to talk over issues they might be experiencing. Skylar is a calming and cuddly distraction for them” Dale said.

Dog Jog comes to Edinburgh on Sunday 29th July. Entries are open now. For more information and to enter, visit the website: www.dogjog.co.uk/edinburgh/.

“Not having the best start in life can hurt but we’re both proof that life can get better and we want to help others too”.

To read more about Dale and Skylar’s story and donate, please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/skylardale