Inspirational 58 year old, Chichester resident, Warrell Harries is running this year’s Children on the Edge Chichester Half Marathon, just over a year after suffering a life-changing heart attack.
Last June, Warrell, who considered himself fairly fit and well, suffered a heart attack; which kick started a new healthy lifestyle and commitment to transform his life. We spoke to Warrell this week as he told us his incredible story ahead of the sixth Children on the Edge Chichester Half Marathon next weekend - Sunday 8th October.
His symptoms started one Wednesday morning in June 2016 as he cycled to work; but he didn’t recognise the signs and brushed them off. A few days later, he was out for lunch with friends and family when the same feelings came back. He describes them much like asthma symptoms. As he started to feel worse, he finally decided to go to St Richards in Chichester to get checked out. He was told he was having a heart attack and was sent straight to Queen Alexandra Hospital to see the heart specialists there. After surgery to clear a blocked artery, and fit a couple of stents, Warrell was told he could ‘go back to normal’ in around 6 weeks’ time.
Despite being fairly active, Warrell knew that his drinking and eating habits were probably to blame, and that he did need to start taking better care of himself. He was determined to make a change. In the autumn, his daughter, a keen runner, encouraged him to give running a try. Warrell assumed his asthma would prevent him from running, but bought some cheap trainers and gave it a go.
Soon after, his daughter asked if he was going to do a Parkrun. He was aware of these free Saturday morning timed runs that take place all over the country. But Warrell again assumed this would be far too much for him, as he’d never ran more than 10 minutes in one go. But his determination, and the encouragement of his daughter spurred him on. So, he went along to Oaklands Park in Chichester one Saturday morning to give it a go.
He said that on his first run, he managed to ‘get to the rugby club’ before thinking ‘this was ridiculous’ and gave up. But he returned week after week and hasn’t looked back since.
In July 2017, Warrell was lucky enough to able to meet the founder of Parkrun by chance when on holiday in Lymington. He decided to join in on the local Parkrun as a ‘tourist’. He got chatting to a few people on the course, one of whom took an interest in his story and encouraged him to talk more about his running and how he got there. Warrell didn’t realise that the man he was talking to was in fact Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who founded Parkrun!
Shortly after, a friend Kim, who’d also recently had a health scare, encouraged Warrell to sign up for the Chichester Half Marathon. He thought the course would be too tough, and initially said no. But after a bit of pressure from Kim, and his daughter, he couldn’t refuse! So Warrell will be taking on our beautiful, but tough course next weekend.
His incredible transformation will also benefit Papyrus, the national charity for the prevention of young suicide, as Warrell has chosen to fundraise for them at the race this year. Papyrus is a charity very close to his heart; after he heard about the tragic death of an old colleague’s daughter, who lost his daughter to suicide last year. You can sponsor Warrell on his Just Giving page here.
Warrell said that his heart attack has changed his outlook on life. He doesn’t want to “waste this fabulous opportunity” now he’s been given a second chance. He also said that his new found love of life especially resonates with the work of Papyrus who believe that with appropriate support and education, many young suicides can be prevented. He wants to do his bit to ensure that more young people can be supported.
All of us at Children on the Edge are blown away by Warrells’ story, and we’re so pleased that our flagship fundraising event, the Chichester Half Marathon will play a small part on his recovery journey; as well as help raise vital funds for another worthy charity.
If you'd like to enter the Chichester Half Marathon 2017, you can do so until Wednesday 4th October at 11.30pm. We're also looking for volunteers to help on the day. Find out more below.
“I don’t remember what life was like before coming to the camp”, says Azima, “but my friends tell me we would play and go swimming”.
Azima is nine years old and lives in a Rohingya makeshift refugee camp on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
Her mother told us about when they fled Myanmar due to the persecution of the Rohingya, saying “After the riots and looting started we were scared. When the violence came to our village we fled with only what we could carry. We walked one day to the water. Then took a boat to Bangladesh. Then we walked one more day”.
Azima is one of six children, her father has been missing for over two years after leaving to find work on a fishing boat. Her mother weaves fishing nets to try and earn enough money to feed the children, but this is a constant struggle.
When we talked with the Rohingya community back in 2010, the only thing they requested was education for their children. The official United Nations Kutupalong camp provided such services, but the overspilled makeshift camp, a sprawling mass of mud, stick and plastic shelters, had nothing. Not only this, but authorities would not permit permanent structures or formal schools for unregistered refugees.
For a long time, thousands of children wandered the camps, unoccupied and vulnerable. We made education possible in what looked like an impossible environment, by supporting the refugee community to build low-profile schools for their children. These 45 classrooms were built onto existing dwellings and are now educating 2700 children in the makeshift camp. We trained over 40 Rohingya refugees as teachers using a curriculum especially designed for refugee children who have missed out on education.
Over the last six years, these 2,700 Rohingya refugee children have received an education, in a safe and nurturing environment. Not only are they following a government approved curriculum and sitting exams, but, after what they have been through, they are developing their confidence and self worth.
To reach the most children, one child from each household attends school, and then shares their learning with their siblings, parents and friends. Azima’s mother says “Azima is a very hard worker. That is why we chose her to go to school. She is smart and helpful. She spends many hours teaching her brothers and sisters to read and write. It is very important for the future of my family that my children know more than I do. I never learned to read. Without the schools my children could only weave nets like me. That is not a good life. I hope we can do better”.
Azima is doing well, flourishing at the camp school and would love to be a teacher herself one day. In fact a 97% pass rate has recently been recorded, and she and her friends have also learnt skills to communicate with army officers, read vital health leaflets, negotiate better prices at the market and understand about the world by reading newspapers they find in the camp.
“I don’t leave the camp because I am afraid of the police” says Azima, “but I love to go to the school. Without it I would have nowhere to go. It’s only hard sometimes when I am hungry, but I love to see my friends. My teachers are good people and they work hard every day. My favourite teacher is my English teacher as he likes to make jokes!”
A new wave of violence against the Rohingya in October 2016 resulted in an additional influx of around 70,000 refugees to Bangladesh. It drew the eye of the international community and softened the government's position on unregistered Rohingya. We are optimistic that our education programme will now be recognised by the authorities and facilitated by UNICEF.
With children like Azima in Kutupalong makeshift camp receiving the services they should, Children on the Edge can replicate the model to support new Rohingya arrivals, as yet unable to access services.
You can help us to help these new arrivals by supporting our ‘Back to School’ campaign.
Getting children Back to School
School’s out for summer, but you will have seen plenty of ‘Back to School’ supplies in the shops and online; as children get kitted out for their return in September.
But getting ‘Back to School’ for the children we work with around the world is a lot more complicated than just buying pens, uniforms and packed lunch boxes. These children face enormous barriers to getting an education, but through our projects, we make it possible for them to access learning again, in a safe place.
We provide education for thousands of children like Azima, living 'on the edge' in refugee camps, slum communities and in some of the most remote parts of the world. Could you make a donation today to help us support more children like Azima?
Just £10 can provide exercise books and text books for ten Rohingya refugee children for a year in one of our camp schools in Bangladesh
School’s out for summer. But you’ll no doubt be seeing lots of ‘Back to School’ branding in the shops and online; as many of you think about getting children kitted out for their return back to school in September.
But getting ‘Back to School’ for the children we work with is a lot more complicated than just buying pens, uniforms and packed lunch boxes. These children face enormous barriers to getting an education, but we help to make it possible.
We need your support so we can keep getting some of the most vulnerable children around the world, back to school and it's why we've launched our Back to School campaign.
A small donation can not only fund things like pens, pencils, bags and uniforms, but can also rent classrooms, pay teachers and fund training. Make a donation here.
How can you help?
1. Buy for Two
If you are buying a new pencil case or school bag over the summer for a child, could you spare the cost of another and #BuyforTwo? We're encouraging parents, caregivers and children to donate the amount you spend on a new item for the school year to Children on the Edge, to help a vulnerable child get back to school.
£5 can provide a place in a tent school for one Syrian refugee child for a week in Lebanon. So the cost of a new pencil case and a few new pens can make a huge difference.
Don't forget to take a picture of the item and let us how much you're donating by sharing it with us on social media with the hashtag #BuyforTwo. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
2. Buy through Give as You Live
If you are planning to buy 'Back to school' supplies online, sign up to Give as You Live to raise money for us for free! By shopping at a selected retailers using online, we get a small donation, without costing you a penny. Every penny counts, so even spending £5 online at Amazon, Tesco or WH Smith can make a difference. Especially if we all do it.
For example, just £1 can provide four days of education for a child at our Early Childhood Development Centre in Loco, Uganda.
3. Make a Regular Donation
A regular donation to Children on the Edge can help to fund our work to get children back to school throughout the whole year. This means you'll be directly supporting a vulnerable child to get a high quality education, in a safe, child friendly environment.
For example £10 can provide books and pencils to help educate three children for a whole school year at one of our schools in Bangladesh, India or Lebanon. So throughout the year, a monthly donation of £3 can go a very long way.
How we help
Your support can help us get more children Back to School this year and continue to deliver the best quality education for children in some of the most vulnerable circumstances. Can you make a donation today?
We're delighted that Ham Manor Golf Club in Angmering is hosting a golf day for Children on the Edge on Thursday 7th September. Tee-off is from 10am.
There is still space to join in for a day of golf in the beautiful Sussex surroundings of Ham Manor, and raise funds for a brilliant cause.
Simon Davies, the organiser says:
"Ham is one of the premier courses in Sussex and the day promises to be great fun with the chance to play some quality golf in a relaxed but competitive format and of course to raise a lot of money.
There will be a range of prizes and even a chance to buy free shots or mulligans to help boost both your score and the funds raised.
There are still some places available at £60 per head to include the golf, plus coffee on arrival and lunch"
If you're interested in buying a ticket, or would like more information please contact Simon Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 16th, Christine Smith, who works for The Body Shop At Home took part in the Windmill Half Marathon in Lytham for Children on the Edge.
Christine raised £100 - all helping to support our work with vulnerable children around the world. £100 is enough to cover the costs of educating 100 Syrian refugee children at one of our tented schools in Lebanon for a day.
It was Christine's first ever half marathon, she said "it's safe to say that training didn't go to plan so I kind of 'winged it' on the day but absolutely loved it, mentally (although I'm not sure my body felt the same way as I crossed he finishing line!)".
She explains why she chose to fundraise for Children on the Edge:
"As a Consultant with The Body Shop at Home, Children on the Edge is a charity close to my heart and I follow their activities closely. I like to do something additional to the general fundraising I do at Body Shop parties each year. My children have done things like carol singing around our estate and 'Iron Kids' and last year I did the Yorkshire 3 Peaks".
Christine started running in January last year but got out of the habit during the summer holidays, so she was determined that this year she would do more than a 10k. Inspired by an unplanned 10 mile run, she signed up to the Windmill Half Marathon that night. She said: "I knew that doing it for charity would keep me motivated when training".
We asked Christine what was the best and hardest part of taking on the Windmill Half Marathon:
"The best part was without a doubt the sense of achievement and the camaraderie of the other runners - everyone really encouraged each other. The hardest was when my hip started complaining around the half way mark and the change in position to go downhill on the last stretch caused pain that quite literally took my breath away. It wouldn't put me off doing it again though!"
When asked what she'd say to someone else thinking about fundraising for Children on the Edge she said:
"Just do it. It doesn't have to be huge and every little helps".
Would you like to fundraise for Children on the Edge by taking on a personal challenge, like a walk, run or cycle? Find out more.
Bourne Community College student wins prestigious Diana Award for Children on the Edge fundraising efforts
Local student, Megan McCulloch, aged 16, from Bourne Community College in Southbourne has been included on a prestigious list of winners as part of the 2017 Diana Awards’ Roll of Honour, to honour her fundraising efforts for Children on the Edge.
Megan was jointly nominated by Children on the Edge and the school for leading their Charity Committee to raise £1,471 throughout 2015-2016 with a range of different fundraising activities.
The Diana Awards are set up to celebrate and reward exceptional young people who embody Princess Diana’s qualities of kindness, compassion and service. To celebrate Princess Diana’s Birthday this 20th Anniversary year, the 2017 Roll of Honour, which included Megan's name, was announced over the weekend.
Megan said: “I cannot express how honoured I feel to have been given the opportunity to help those less fortunate than myself. It was a pleasure to lead a team of great students. I have been inspired and supported by an outstanding member of staff who guided me through my journey of fundraising and leadership - I am filled with joy at becoming a Diana Award winner!”
Fundraising Manager at Children on the Edge, Eloise Armstrong said: “Megan has been a fantastic ambassador for Children on the Edge within Bourne Community College. We have been impressed by her pro-active leadership; innovative fundraising ideas and her communication with our fundraising staff. As a small charity, the impact of Megan’s fundraising has been significant and timely, enabling us to provide ‘on the edge’ safe spaces and education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Rohingya refugee children fleeing Burma and living in Bangladesh.”
Megan managed all aspects of the relationship between us and the school; arranging visits and presentations from the Children on the Edge staff team, coordinating the fundraising events, and delivering assemblies to share the impact of the total money raised.
Megan brought leadership and energy in her role as chair of Bourne Community College’s charity committee and committed time each week to bring together a team representing all year groups. She coordinated all year round fundraising which included a school-wide sports day featuring unique sports played in the countries where we work. As well as the Easter “Children on the Egg” challenge.
The money raised by Megan and the school can help provide education in an informal tented school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon for eight Syrian refugee children for a whole year.
Children on the Edge rely completely on voluntary donations and receives no institutional or government funding for their programme in Lebanon, which makes this support all the more vital for the charity during the worsening refugee crisis in Syria.
Phil Harper, Student Voice Coordinator said: “I have loved seeing Megan grow in her leadership skills. She knew how to lead staff and students with enthusiasm and purpose. I now feel genuine pride at Megan's achievements and the young person she has become - courageous, resilient and compassionate.”
Head Teacher, Yvonne Watkins said: "All of us at Bourne Community College are delighted with the Diana Award for Megan. She has worked tirelessly as Chair of our Charity Group. She is an exceptional young student, embodying all the qualities of kindness, compassion and service that are reflected in the Diana Award. She has worked selflessly, always aiming to inspire and motivate other students and staff to raise awareness and money for those less fortunate than themselves. She truly deserves this wonderful Diana Award.”
Megan will collect her Award at a special Ceremony later this year.
The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Today The Diana Award has the support of both her sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
All the award winners – who come from every region in the UK and USA, Canada, UAE, India, Belize, Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Croatia, Liberia, Jersey, New Zealand, Indonesia and Liberia – have had a monumental impact on society and lives of those in their communities. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honour of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for whose memory it was set up in.
Would your school like to fundraise for Children on the Edge? Find out more here or contact our Fundraising Officer, Amy Rook.
The pupils, parents and staff at Shellingford CE Primary School in Oxfordshire have been raising money for our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon since September 2016 as part of a whole school year of fundraising. So far they have raised an enormous £4871.13!
We visited the school in September 2016 and spoke to the staff and students about our project in Lebanon, providing education for 500 Syrian refugee children through our tented schools in Bekaa Valley. We spoke to the young students about what it was like to be a refugee and tried to get them to think about what life might be like for a Syrian refugee family who had to flee their home because of the ongoing conflict. The children were asked to think about what items they might take to help ensure their survival; things like like blankets, passports, money, a torch, first aid kit and a mobile phone.
This visit from Children on the Edge in September kicked off Shellingfords' fundraising for the year ahead. But teacher, Alex Drew was behind all the schools' fundraising activities. His family foundation set up in memory of his father (the Simon Drew Foundation) kindly provide financial support for our work in Lebanon, and he was keen for the school to get behind Children on the Edge too. Alex has led the schools fundraising which included a 'Self-Portrait' project, 'The Ultimate Sport Challenge' and a community picnic.
For the first of their activities, the 'Shellingford Self-Portrait Project', the children drew pictures of themselves which parents were able to order as keychains, framed portraits of fridge magnets, with all proceeds coming to Children on the Edge.
In February, staff and pupils took part in a series of sponsored sports activities called 'The Ultimate Sports Challenge'. The activities were linked to what Syrian refugees might have experience on their journey from their war-torn homes to refugee camps in Lebanon. Every child and teacher was asked to raise money with a specially created sponsorship form.
Tuesday: The Run
The whole school, including all the adults tried to run as many laps as possible in the school grounds, with 15 laps equalling 1 mile. The whole school ran an incredible 328 miles which they worked out as being as far as Shellingford to Paris, or the same distance from Aleppo, Syria to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Thursday: The Hike
Pupils took part in a hike in the local area. On the day each pupil brought a backpack with essentials they might need on a long journey. The children had been learning about refugees and thinking about what families and children might need to take with them to survive if they had to leave their homes in hurry, not knowing if they would come back. Despite storm Doris stopping them walking through the woods, they were able to walk through a mile long field and the village.
Friday: The Scramble
On Friday, the school organised a challenging obstacle in the playing fields. The obstacles were designed to be similar to what a refugee child might have endured when travelling across an unknown landscape. There were water and mud features and everyone got really stuck in.
Sunday: The Climb
For staff and families who were able to, the school finished their 'Ultimate Sports Challenge' with a climb up nearby White Horse Hill. The climb was related to a refugee's journey to hopeful safety.
Together, the Sports Challenge and Self-Portrait project raised an incredible £2546.52!
The schools' summer fundraising activity involved a community picnic which took place on Friday 26th May. Local residents were invited to join staff and pupils on a gloriously sunny lunchtime. The picnic raised another £127 to add to their total.
The parents at Shellingford Primary School have also been doing an incredible job of raising money through the 'Friends of Shellingford Primary School'. Their Spring Ball on the 20th May raised an amazing £806.50.
We were particularly touched to hear about year 5 pupil, Samantha's fundraising efforts. She independently organised for her family to make donations for chores completed at home. She raised a very impressive £43.90 with her hard work.
The money raised by Shellingford Primary School will go such a long way to help support our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
Over the past 3 years Children on the Edge have been working in partnership with Lebanese NGO - Mercy Foundation within the refugee communities in the Bekaa Valley, providing quality, child friendly education for refugee children who are unable to access government or UN school provision.
These tent schools, in addition to a school based out of a Community Centre in Beirut, currently provide education for 500 children aged 6 -12. They are safe places with a trusted adult presence. Where other projects of this kind bring in teachers from the outside, this model raises up teachers from within the Syrian refugee community.
Could your school fundraise to support Children on the Edge? Find out more and Download our Schools Pack or contact Amy Rook, our Fundraising Officer: email@example.com
his week, from the 1st - 7th June is national Volunteers Week, an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
We wanted to take the opportunity to thank our amazing volunteers for everything they do to help us here at Children on the Edge.
What do they do to help?
In our UK office in Chichester, we rely on our regular troop of committed volunteers who help us keep things ticking over. From making trips to the bank, sorting out t-shirts and other fundraising materials, popping to the post office, helping with general admin or supporting staff with specific projects or pieces of work; our office volunteers provide vital weekly support for Children on the Edge.
At local events, our volunteers are a huge help and enable us to do so much more than we could do otherwise. Last Christmas, many people came forward to help us sell ‘Season of Hope’ gift wrap at a number of local Christmas Fayres. All helping us raise money to support our projects abroad.
Our annual events like the Chichester Half Marathon which takes place in October and raises thousands of pounds for Children on the Edge, simply could not and would not, take place without the commitment and dedication of our local team of helpers. From our enthusiastic marshals who keep participants safe and going in the right direction, to volunteers who distribute water, medals and goody bags, to those who help us set up and pack up the race village; all make this event possible.
Could you sign up to help at the Chichester Half Marathon in 2017?
Emily Dadson, our Office Manager says “At the heart of all we do we are children on the edge – abandoned, forgotten, ignored. Our volunteers understand this vision and purpose and so become very much part of the COTE team. Their practical input is invaluable, but also their wisdom, thoughts and ideas. We listen and learn and gain so much more from having them work alongside us. They genuinely add value to our tasks and our gratitude to them is huge. I hope we say thank you enough – but just in case we don’t, here are our thanks – in black and white – from all of us to all of you. You know who you are!”
These days we only take volunteers abroad very rarely. It’s not an experience the public can apply for or buy into. We’re a small charity and want to put all our resources and time into making sure the children we work with have the very best provision. Large scale volunteer programmes don’t really fit with this strategy, but once a year, we do take a small group of volunteers and fundraisers from The Body Shop at Home™ as well as other corporate partners who tirelessly raise money for our work throughout the year, to one of our projects. Most recently, this has been to Uganda, for our annual Playscheme.
What do our volunteers say?
Justine is the owner of Mia Bella Casa in Rustington and has given a phenomenal amount of time to Children on the Edge over the years.
She says "I have been a supporter of Children on the Edge for many years. I worked for The Body Shop and we were did a lot of fundraising for them. Back in December 2010 I was made redundant, knew I wanted to spend a few months volunteering and decided to go to Children on the Edge.
I helped organise the flagship event, the Easter Trail and the Chichester Half Marathon for 2 years running. I loved it, the team are fabulous, but just knowing that you are giving something back to the community and helping children whose lives are in such turmoil makes it so worthwhile. It's also a chance to learn new skills."
Just last month this year’s volunteer team came back from our annual Playscheme in Uganda. Claire, who joined us as a volunteer from The Body Shop at Home™ said: "I've had such an amazing experience with a fantastic group of people. It was completely humbling and we met some wonderful people, both young and old, I didn't want to leave. Seeing what Children on the Edge has done for the communities in Uganda first hand has been a real eye opening experience, and makes you appreciate what you have at home a little more. From the results this fantastic charity have achieved so far, it definitely proves you get better results with honey than vinegar. I feel more informed about the work Children on the Edge do and more confident to advocate on their behalf now. Thank you for allowing me to share this amazing experience with you".
Walter Jones is a retired Headmaster who has been giving his valuable time and skills to Children on the Edge for the past few years. He says “Having done some travelling in South East Asia, I was very aware of the huge number of children living on very little in countries such as Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand. When I realised that Children on the Edge existed to help these very children, I was keen to volunteer to help. In the last couple of years I have spoken at school assemblies, shaken a bucket at the railway station, given a presentation at a day centre, not to mention dished out water at the Chichester Half Marathon. There are office chores as well – but the cause is such a good one that routine tasks are not a great burden. I strongly recommend Children on the Edge!”.
If you’d like to join us as volunteer, take a look at our current opportunities here.
We are currently looking for volunteers to help at the Priory Park Festival in Chichester on the 7th, 8th & 9th of July as well as at the famous Chichester Half Marathon on the 8th October 2017. Find out more and sign up.
If you have any questions about volunteering at Children on the Edge, please email Emily Dadson, our Office Manager, or call 01243 538530.
In May 2016, we organised our first ever playscheme in Loco; a community we had just begun to work with. The playscheme offered a week full of hope, life, colour and fun for the children of Loco and gave us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community, especially the children.
We've just returned from our second successful playscheme this year, where we saw such a dramatic transformation compared to just one year ago. The most obvious physical transformation was our brand new Early Childhood Development Centre, which opened last year, and provided the bright and colourful space we needed for morning lessons. But the difference in the children was huge.
Read more about the transformation of this local community, all made possible thanks to your support.
Hosted by Children on the Edge Africa, with volunteers from The Body Shop At Home™, this year's playscheme was attended by over 300 excited children. They enjoyed a week of fun activities, from storytelling, football, three-legged races, drawings, crafts, music and parachute games. The highlight of the week for most of the children is the bouncy castle which was set up on Friday morning.
Every day involved structured educational classes for younger and older children in our ECD Centre in the morning, with the afternoon set aside for fun and games. Each day had a different focus: Monday was literacy; Tuesday was numeracy; Wednesday was the environment; Thursday was storytelling and Friday, well Friday, was bouncy castle day, with music, dancing and face painting!
Led by the ECD teachers and COTE Africa staff; with support from The Body Shop At Home™ volunteers, the children were taught counting songs; read story books; learnt about their local environment; made musical instruments and learnt about personal safety by identifying 'safe' and 'unsafe' places or objects in their local area. The 'Hungry Caterpillar' proved a very popular story for the younger children, with the older children enjoying 'Handa's Surprise'.
The week was a huge success. And for our The Body Shop At Home™ volunteers, Sophie, Hayley and Claire, the playscheme had a particularly powerful impact on them:
Sophie said "I want to say a massive thank you for allowing me to be part of a team who has made life changing experiences from day one not just for the children of Loco but also for myself. I was enabled to do activities I wouldn't normally do and really enjoyed myself, especially hearing the children laugh and seeing them smile. I never knew the full extent of what Children On The Edge do as we don't see behind the scenes but now I can explain to everyone I see with more passion in my heart to get the word out what you guys really do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart x".
Hayley said "What an experience being a volunteer for the 2017 playscheme! It pushed me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to try things I wouldn't usually do. I've learnt so much in such a short space of time and have memories I will treasure for a lifetime. From the second we landed in Entebbe to the moment we stepped back into England I was enchanted by the people I've met, the places I've seen and the phenomenal work Children On The Edge continue to do. Thank you for a truly life changing experience!"
Claire said: "I've had such an amazing experience with a fantastic group of people. It was completely humbling and we met some wonderful people, both young and old, I didn't want to leave. Seeing what Children on the Edge has done for the communities in Uganda first hand has been a real eye opening experience, and makes you appreciate what you have at home a little more. From the results this fantastic charity have achieved so far, it definitely proves you get better results with honey than vinegar. I feel more informed about the work Children on the Edge do and more confident to advocate on their behalf now. Thank you for allowing me to share this amazing experience with you".
The Body Shop At Home™ volunteers who joined us this year are all consultants or Managers who fundraise tirelessly for Children on the Edge. Along with colleagues at The Body Shop™ and The Body Shop At Home™, they provide vital financial support for our work with vulnerable children, especially in Uganda.
On Sunday 9th April 2017 Kelly, Sarah, Paul, and Andrew all ran 26.2 miles to raise money for Children on the Edge at the Brighton Marathon.
On one of the hottest days of the year so far, our four amazing runners absolutely excelled themselves and took on a challenge to remember in the sunny seaside city of Brighton.
For Kelly, Sarah and Paul, it was their first ever marathon, and all three completed it in hugely respectable times. And even more respectable were their fundraising totals. At the latest count, Kelly has raised £1414, Paul on £1200 and Sarah at £1181 – an absolutely incredible total between them.
Andrew, a veteran runner, who volunteers with our Chichester Half Marathon team took on the marathon, despite just recovering from an injury; all to raise funds for our work with vulnerable children overseas. In just a few weeks, he raised a great £435, also an amazing effort.
Raising £4320 in between them; this sum will help us to do so much to help vulnerable children overseas. For example, £4320 is enough to cover the costs of running one of our tent schools for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon for 100 children, for 43 days.
Paul said that the best thing about the challenge was knowing he was helping to change the lives of individuals he’ll never meet on the other side of globe. After completing the Birmingham Half Marathon in November last year, he wanted to take on a new challenge now he had some time to commit to the tough training regime required for a marathon. A personal trainer by trade and as well as a talented martial arts competitor, he found that training with his clients broke up the monotony of the long hours of training runs during the winter months. Paul’s not been put off doing another marathon either, he said “after my positive experience with the children on the Edge charity and the Brighton Marathon I am considering the Edinburgh Marathon 2017 at the end of May so watch this space!”
Sarah - the fastest of all our runners – said: “As awful as I felt during the run, I had access to doctors, I was able to get myself food and drink to recover, I got home to a warm bath and a bed to sleep in. When I think of those I set out to help, it makes my struggles on race day feel small but my sense of achievement feels great”. She said that starting the marathon knowing that she had hit her fundraising target was really motivating and along the appreciated the 'amazing' atmosphere and the level of support from the crowds. When asked what the hardest part of the challenge was; Sarah said it was all her training during the cold, dark months whilst juggling work and family life. Sarah even had to do a three hour training run in hurricane Doris!
Andrew told us that having secured a place at the Brighton Marathon last year, he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to raise funds for Children on the Edge. He’s volunteered for us for the past year, helping with the Chichester Half Marathon event. Despite being a veteran runner, he said that raising money to help the vulnerable children we work with gave him a focus and a reason to keep going during the marathon itself. What’s next for Andrew? He’s considering an ultra-marathon!
For Kelly, she wanted to take on the marathon to tick it off her bucket list. She also said that she wanted to run her first marathon for an organisation she knew and trusted, rather than just applying for another charity place. Knowing about our work - having volunteered on some of our projects in Romania and East Timor, and whilst working for us in Indonesia many years ago – meant that she has a real understanding of what Children on the Edge does. She said that the best thing about her challenge was that she raised a lot more money that she had hoped; which has a big impact for a small charity like us. The worst thing for Kelly, was the 21 degree heat on the day itself (it was a very hot April 9th for all the runners!).
We’re so proud and inspired by all our Brighton Marathon runners this year. They’ve done an incredible job of fundraising for Children on the Edge, as well as completing the marathon itself. Their efforts will make such a huge difference to our work.
Are you inspired to take on the Brighton Marathon in 2018? We have five charity places available, find out more and apply. Don't fancy a marathon? We'd love you to fundraise for Children on the Edge with your own challenge event. Find out more.