The big day finally arrived for our Receptionist, Carmen Gaffarena, on Wednesday this week as she set out towards Dean’s Yard at 11 am to complete her 11/11 Challenge to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
Our team gathered on the balcony of the Bishop Partridge Hall, which overlooks Dean’s Yard, to cheer on Carmen as she completed 11 laps around the rather wet garden square due to the rain. Despite the inclement weather, Carmen kept smiling and even after completing the 11 laps, she was happy to keep going all day!
We are pleased to report that Carmen raised £419 so far for the 11/11 Challenge in support of the Royal British Legion. Donations are still being accepted on JustGiving.
An elated Carmen commented after the run, “I would like to to thank everyone for all their generosity and donations. I am immensely grateful for the tremendous support”.
We asked Carmen a few questions to find out how the pandemic has changed the way we support charities.
- What gave you the idea for the fundraising activity?
I used to organise a lot of fundraising activities when I was younger, but this idea was different in that lockdown inspired me to set a physical challenge for myself.
- What surprised you most whilst fundraising?
The fact that despite what is going on globally and the impact of the pandemic, humanity prevails. Everyone has been so generous and supportive when I started the fundraising initiative, which shows that kindness really is everywhere.
- You chose to fundraise for the Royal British Legion. Why?
Like so many people past and present we all know of someone who has experienced war and the effects of war. I come from the small island of Malta, which is only 17 miles long and 9 miles wide. The island was bombed intensively country during WW2 (3,000 bombing raids of 6,700 tons of bombs). The Maltese people were facing starvation at some point. Churchill called the island “ an unsinkable aircraft carrier “. The Maltese were proud to have the British as allies and we were presented with The George Cross for the bravery of the Maltese people. Personally, both my parents endured many challenges as young people during the war and they have shared their stories with me. For this reason, the charity is close to my heart. In addition, timing-wise, my activity precedes the annual Poppy appeal which takes place next month. This year will be particularly challenging as so many continue to work from home.
- Did you have any challenges in doing this?
Personally, in terms of the actual running (laughing), I had a few stumbling blocks as I do like the occasional wine and I smoke! During Lockdown I was also perhaps less active than I used to be. That said, these issues were really small compared to what so many people are going through at the moment. In a way that definitely kept me going.
- Considering the impact of the pandemic on charities in terms of visibility and fundraising, what kind of alternative activities should we consider to support charities?
There are so many new charity fundraising ideas to try during Covid, guaranteed to put the fun in fundraising. Best of all, you will feel so great for doing it.
- Organise a virtual themed party or an online gaming tournament
- Start a social media campaign that encourages pictures to be posted with tags to amplify the campaign
- Volunteer as a phone buddy for charities supporting mental health, the elderly or the lonely
- Donate emergency food to a local food bank
- Donate what you would have spent on your daily commute, or your coffee or sandwich spend as if you were in the office, to a Covid-19 relief fund
- Set yourself a physical challenge as I have done.
- Use your skills. If you are good at painting or photography, sell your art and donate the proceeds. Make face masks or offer online lessons.
- If you haven’t done it already, have a clear out, sell on eBay and donate the proceeds.
- I may be biased, but another great idea at the moment is to host a hybrid event at our Covid-secure venue, Church House Westminster, to reach a national or global audience with the help of our in-house audio-visual team.
This year, as a result of COVID-19, @PoppyLegion income is at risk. Donations are essential. Here’s how you are still able to participate safely in this year’s Poppy Appeal – https://t.co/9NBKDBvAID #RemembranceDay2020 #lestweforget #WeWillRememberThem #charitytuesday
— Church House Westminster (@Churchhouseconf) November 11, 2020