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Blog 4 September 2020

Fundraising during a pandemic

Find out what we've been doing to continue raising money to support our services during the pandemic.

With events cancelled, businesses closed and the normal flow of life disrupted, the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on charities and their ability to raise crucial funds. 

At Forward, while we’ve been in a more fortunate position than some of our fellow charities who have lost significant income from having to shut down their shops, there has still been a major impact on our ability to raise vital funds in the way we normally do through our events and challenges.  

The first few months were hard: the London Marathon (a key event in our fundraising calendar) was postponed, and all plans to host in-person events had to be shelved. But thanks to the ingenuity of our staff members, much of our fundraising activity has now been able to return, just a little differently than before.

The first successful event was the The Bridges’ Virtual Garden Party in June. Following this, we launched another exciting virtual event spanning from 6th August right through to 6th September: Moving Forward: from Hull to Cairo. The event has a team of amazing volunteers collectively running, walking, or swimming the equivalent distance from Hull – where our residential rehab facilities, ReNew and The Bridges, are based – to Cairo, where the global Narcotics Anonymous (NA) convention was set to take place this year, before it was sadly cancelled due to Covid. 

We had over 30 participants sign up, logging their distance every day as we draw closer to the 6,000km target

With 48 hours left to go, we’ve raised an amazing total of £1,108! 

Jennie, Team Leader at ReNew, tells us a bit more about what inspired the event:

Sadly, the lockdown was leaving the people we work with as well as some of our staff feeling isolated. And with many fellowships and recovery events cancelled due to the pandemic, this has been having an impact on their happiness and wellbeing. That’s why we came up with Moving Forward: a community activity that anyone can take part in, wherever they are, bringing them together to help those struggling with drug and alcohol issues, along with their families. If we manage to raise money for our fantastic charity and help many more people make changes for years to come, it will be amazing.

Amy, Forward’s Communications Manager, is another staff member who’s been putting in some miles. Amy says: 

I wanted to get involved in Moving Forward because I’ve struggled to motivate myself to keep fit during the lockdown, and I figured being part of a team and helping to meet a collective goal would be a good way of getting me off the couch. Also, I’ve been so inspired by all the amazing things our service users and frontline staff have achieved during lockdown, that I wanted to find a way to take part and support them.

Here she is, on Day 1, after running the very first leg of her Moving Forward journey! 

Derek, one of our drug and alcohol practitioners, decided to take on the Moving Forward challenge after being seconded to The Bridges during the lockdown. Anxious to keep his clients and colleagues safe, Derek decided to walk the 9-mile round trip to work each day instead of risking public transport. By the end of his secondment, he realised he’d walked the equivalent of Hull to Calais! And all that walking has had a fantastic impact on his health and wellbeing. See what else Derek has to say:

Track the Forward Movers’ progress here, as they close in on their virtual finish line.

Humber Tri Challenge

In another impressive show of stamina, Forward supporter James Britton and friends will be taking on the mammoth 63-mile Humber Tri Challenge to raise funds for The Bridges in Hull. 

Supported by Humber Rescue, the challenge will see Team Bridges swimming 1.6 miles, followed by a 48-mile bike ride and 13-mile run back to the Humber Bridge.

James says:

I have known of The Bridges for many years and the work they do, taking offenders with addiction and putting them through a programme to help them think differently and take control of their lives. This is inspiring and the results speak for themselves. This is a world-class facility in Hull, supported by the local business community and fundraising is crucial

This challenge is a true test of strength and endurance which requires relentless training. Check out these hilarious updates from the team as they gear up for the event on 12th September, and support them here.

We’re incredibly grateful to both Team Bridges and our Forward Movers for doing their bit to support Forward at this challenging time. We wish everyone the best of luck in achieving their targets!