Fund Raising & Charities

June 14, 2013

In the last 20 years we have become a real world leader in charity events and fund raising for good causes.

Initially inspired by Bob Geldof and Live Aid, Children in Need, Ian Botham (my no 1 sporting hero, a man who took risks and pushed himself to the limit) and the proliferation of charity shops springing up in town centres there is no getting away from the desire of so many to do something for those who need it.

Working in the outdoors I have seen people on their knees as they suffer trying to get to the summit of some mysterious peak, hundreds, if not thousands of walkers slogging their way round the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire and lost souls pitting their wits day after day on long distance footpaths such as the Coast to Coast…and it is wonderful to see. Charities and fund raisers now feel the need to earn their money by pushing themselves and achieving something rather than just rattling a tin and expecting people to cough up. No more the surreptitious escape to the toilets as the old man and lady from the Salutation Army creep in the front door of the pub…it is not enough.

This is not a political rant about a lack of central government funding, in many ways Mr Cameron’s seemingly forgotten Big Society was a pro-active and correct way of telling people to get off their backsides and help those who needed it. Sometimes this help is for something very personal, a relative who has died or been struck down by something that has severely curtailed their lives (I did collect for the Alzheimers’ Society whilst on the Southern Upland Way having seen my dad suffer in his last few years) or maybe it is doing something for a a well known charity that the group or individual has always admired.

Many cynics say that those collecting  donations do so for their own self gratification ie: it makes them feel good doing something. Completing the 3 Peaks is a worthy challenge in its own right for example but why not collect for something whilst doing it. Asking people for money is not easy for anyone and in many ways I admire those with the nerve to do so (within reason) and furthermore they then have to complete the challenge that they have set out to do – again not easy. However the doubters still remain but I would ask them to think of it this way – so what if the individual is a little self satisfied at completing their challenge – just think of the money you have donated and where it is going and let them have their moment of glory.

Last Saturday I met Debbie North  at Country Harvest in Ingleton, someone who I had met a few years ago (find out more about Debbie and admired so much for her cheery disposition despite the hardships she has suffered. Debbie is now in a wheelchair and frustrated with being unable to enjoy the hills and dales she once loved. Rather than sitting back at home in Lincolnshire though she is determined to make things better for others like her and has begun, from scratch, an initiative to introduce a motorised ‘tramper‘ to Malham Tarn Outdoor Centre for those who want to get out and about and explore the pathways nearby. The cost of the tramper is £7,000 (I had a go, it is great fun and suitably robust – travels at 4 mph, the same as a quick walker) and if you would like to contribute do visit Debbie’s Just Giving page.

Doing something for charity can take on many forms. Normally I see people heading off on a long distance walk, completing the 3 Peaks (National or Yorkshire) or simply needing help on a more simple walk. However others may go caving, hand gliding or something particularly dare devil (friends of mine are walking along the Sage roof in Gateshead this weekend) or something more mundane, holding a hog roast or event in the village, even a coffee morning. I contribute £5 for every booking on the Navigation Courses we hold at Where2walk to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, a fine charity looking after the welfare of the area. There are so many options to raise money.

Picking a charity or fund raising event is not only be exceptionally worthwhile and satisfying but can be great fun as well. It is one more reason to get out and about in our fantastic countryside, whatever the weather.

Enjoy your walks


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