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Supporting our communities with our Virtual 8 Challenge

2 min read

By Peter Singfield

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Last year in June our people raised £2,200, from our Virtual 8 Challenge and quiz. We challenged our people as an individual, with their household, or their team (virtually!/as permitted by the “Tiers”) to set themselves a challenge based on the number 8. From 80 mile solo cycles to one of our teams covering a collective 888 miles by walking and cycling everyone got stuck in!

The funds raised were directed into a Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) managed by the Devon Community Foundation (DCF) who administer our Foundation together with a wide range of other funds. The DCRRF was financed by the National Emergencies Trust and donations like ours.

Voluntary sector services have been needed more than ever during the pandemic. But whilst this need has grown, the organisations delivering these vital services have faced their own challenges, including their own incomes being hit by the pandemic. With their fundraising events cancelled and many active volunteers isolating, it has been a tough year for charities.

How did the fund respond?

The CRRF broke its response down into three stages.

Stage 1 - reponse

Delivering rapid funds to enable immediate response to those that required grants (March-September and again in early 2021).

Stage 2 - transition

After consulting with stage one recipients about what they needed a second round of funding was launched to give core cost support to trusted organisations (August onwards).

Stage 2 - resilience and transformation

A further round of funding is anticipated that will concentrate on continued support for those organisations continuing to support those impacted by the pandemic.

How did our donations help?

The funds we raised from the Virtual 8 Challenge and quiz were directed into stage 2 of the response. Although we can’t see exactly which organisations benefited from our fundraising, the story below about the YMCA in Exeter illustrates how a similar donation to ours can make a difference.

YMCA, Exeter – alleviating anxiety

YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world heling young people aged 5-30 reach their potential and live full lives. Their services include working with children and their families with supported accommodation and mental health intervention. During lockdown a much higher level of anxiety was reported amongst the charities target age range than any other – according to a survey by the Royal Society for Public Health 70% of 18-24 year olds were experiencing more anxiety than usual, compared to 47% of over 75s.

YMCA in Exeter aimed to address this by reaching out to young people and their families locally with a range of services including:

  • Emotional wellbeing advice for families via telephone, video and text chat
  • Collection of prescriptions for those isolating
  • Activity and wellbeing packs
  • Emergency food packages

The organisation said “with the funding we hope to relieve the mental and emotional suffering caused by covid-19 on the young families and children we work with. We hope also to reduce the amount of anxiety by providing food hampers and offering guidance as to how they can best maintain a calm and stable family home.”

Martha Wilkinson, DCF’s Chief Executive told us “We are incredibly privileged to be able to support the vital work carried out by organisations all over our county who look after the most vulnerable people in our communities, and never has that been more so than during these recent and most challenging of times. We simply wouldn’t be able do this if it wasn’t for the kind generosity of donors like Foot Anstey, to whom we would like to extend a genuine and heart-felt thank you.”