James Watkins is no stranger to supporting Children on the Edge. Last year he took on the 2017 Brighton Marathon to support our work and this year he’s taking on the world-renowned London Marathon. James is well experienced in marathons as this one will be his 5th, but it is still a huge challenge. Having completed the Los Angeles Marathon, the Brighton Marathon and most recently the Leicester Marathon with his son Sam, he’s making it his personal mission to take on the London marathon for the second time and achieve a personal best by completing it in under 4 hours.
As James is a bit of a regular at marathon running we asked him for some tips on what helps when taking on running challenges. His advice was to get a running partner, which he says keeps you honest and accountable for your training. Luckily for James this year, he is training with his son, Sam who is also using his place in the Paris Marathon this year to fundraise for Children on the Edge. The father-son duo are helping each another to stay motivated, even in the most difficult running conditions.
The recent snowy weather, though beautiful, has caused some of their training to be moved inside as James glumly admitted that he ran 19 miles on a treadmill last week to avoid the icy roads. A massive achievement to any runner, he still can’t wait to get back outdoors to train in the Spring weather. They’ve also been helping each other to stick with a healthy diet which, though difficult at times, is helping them stay in peak condition. They said that these health benefits are of the best bits of training.
For motivation, he finds it helpful to remember that his constant challenges are raising funds for a great cause. He says; “Children on the Edge is a charity which supports children who are literally on the edge, with no other way to escape their situation. They operate by working with local partners on the ground which makes the work sustainable. It’s admirable and I’m very happy to support it.”
Their current total is already over £2,000 and they are hoping to get as close to £3,000 as possible. £3,000 can fund the costs of educating 15 Syrian refugee children in one of our tent schools for an entire year in Lebanon.
We hope that all James and Sam’s hard work in training and fundraising gets them to that £3,000 target and below their 4-hour time goal.
If you would like to support James and Sam in their London/Paris Marathon fundraising journey then you can donate to their JustGiving page.
If you would like to find out how you can take on your own challenge then visit our challenges page.
The wonderful The Body Shop At Home team and consultants have gone above and beyond with their fundraising for Children on the Edge each year, and 2017 was no different.
Smashing a fundraising target of £85,000, they raised a staggering £113,688 through their Body Shop parties, regular monthly donations, fashion shows, ball nights and by taking on a huge range of runs and cycles.
On Saturday 3rd February Ben, Esther, Abigail and our amazing volunteers Helen and Jane, travelled from Chichester to Telford for their Spring Conference, armed with 1,700 goody bags generously donated by The Body Shop, raffle tickets and t-shirts. The team always look forward to the energy and generosity shown in the rapid fundraising for vulnerable children at this event.
The result was an incredible £21,099 raised in one day. This is a phenomenal record amount for a February conference, and we were blown away.
Our Executive Director, Ben shared news from Uganda and described why we are beginning work in a new community called Wandago. We also celebrated consultants who rose to the challenge of raising more than £100 at their parties in the run up to Christmas.
Ben says “Our fundraising targets are always ambitious and once again you all smashed it! Your ongoing passion and support for Children on the Edge is helping us to create safer environments for more and more vulnerable children in Uganda each year”.
The Body Shop and Children on the Edge have worked together since Dame Anita Roddick founded the charity in 1990. Driven by her passion for sustainable and ethical products, Dame Anita hoped to provide a similar approach to charity work. After witnessing the atrocities befalling children in Romania following the war, she created Children on the Edge to create hope, life, colour and fun for some of the world’s most forgotten children.
Thank you to all those who are supporting us to continue this work. If you are a consultant from The Body Shop at Home and you'd like to find out how to get more involved, just e-mail email@example.com.
2018 began with friends and celebrations for the Children on the Edge team as our lovely Ambassadors gathered for a fun filled Quiz night. Over 120 people came together at Fittleworth Village Hall for 12 rounds of 2017 trivia and a delicious fish and chip supper.
Walter Jones (a long-standing member of the Children on the Edge volunteer team) and his appropriately named ‘Walter’s Winners’ team took the final prize at the end of night.
Whilst Walter and his team were gracious champions, it was the event and the people that made it such a memorable evening for Walter:
‘‘It was a super evening full of people who are committed to supporting Children on the Edge. People tonight were really keen to lend their support. They like the fact that Children on the Edge are a small, local charity, rather than a big bureaucracy. They are getting the job done well, helping children in serious need, and they keep donors in touch with the difference they are making”.
A glass was raised to everyone’s incredible generosity, support and hard work over 2017. The evening offered a moment to reflect on how much had been achieved by all involved with Children on the Edge in the last year, and their continuing work to restore the ingredients of a full and happy childhood to so many forgotten children.
The final total from the evening was an incredible £3,007.80.
If you would like to be involved in our next fundraising event, or maybe you would like to organise one, then please get in touch!
On the 30th of December, Rose Beddington succeeded in her goal of trekking the South Downs over Christmas and raising funds for the vulnerable children which Children on the Edge support.
Rose was so moved by the plight of the Syrian refugees who search for a safer life for their families, she decided to get involved.
She said, “I wanted to do something different at Christmas which would have meaning for me and for others in the wider world. Walking the South Downs Way is a constructive challenge for me.”.
As Rose began her trek, she kept a diary, recording daily entries as she went. One particular day the weather was so bad, she reported; “From Alfriston to Beachy Head. Horizontal rain followed by hurricane winds. Blown over on The Severn Sisters. No one else out - I wonder why?!’”
Another entry shows how Rose was not alone in her journey, as friends responded to her invitation to join and support her through the most challenging parts of her trek: “A wild and windy day today. Another Saint - Saint Brian Dallyn picked me up at 7.30… Fast walking to meet Michele Reverenne for lunch”.
When Rose explained why she chose to fundraise for Children on the Edge she said; “For several years I have donated to Children on the Edge which is a small charity based in Chichester. They do excellent work with children on the margins of their society, and also empower those around the children to help themselves. I like this particular charity because funds are not wasted on slick offices or bureaucracy. All donations go straight to those most needing it.”
Rose completed her Christmas trek on the 30th of December just in time to see the New Year in, and she raised a fantastic £1,250 for Children on the Edge.
Would you like to fundraise for our work by taking on a personal challenge, like a walk, run or cycle? Find out more.
On Friday 27th October, local chef, Juliet Graham organised a 'Syrian Feast' at Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne, to raise funds for our tented schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The event raised an incredible £2245.
Juliet, who owns Green and Graham catering in Hambrook wanted to do something to support Children on the Edge and in particular, our education programme for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. She organised the Syrian themed feast, creating her own menu of delicious food which was freshly prepared at Tuppenny Barn with help from a team of volunteers.
Juliet Graham said:
"In 2016, I visited the refugee camps in Calais. Having seen how people were living, I knew I wanted to do something to help. Soon after, I heard Nuna Matar speak in Chichester and I thought it would be fantastic to join up with Children on the Edge and do something locally to raise funds, build awareness, and have some fun at the same time!".
Nuna Matar runs the education programme we support in Lebanon, and visited Chichester in April 2016. She met with a number of local supporters to talk more about the programme, inspiring many local people to get involved in supporting this work.
The meal for 67 hungry guests included lentil, chard and freekeh soup, flat breads, falafel and moutabal, along with lamb, marinated chicken kebabs and roasted quail, with an array of side dishes - Mujadara, Fattoush salad, Muhammara and honey roasted figs with halloumi. All the dishes went down extremely well with guests, who dined with the delightful tunes of some traditional Syrian music in the background, performed by members of the Sussex Syrian Community Group.
After dinner, Director of Children on the Edge, Rachel Bentley spoke about our work in Lebanon. She explained how we have been working with Syrian refugees in Bekaa Valley for over three years, in partnership with Lebanese NGO - Mercy Foundation.
Our programme provides quality, child friendly education for 500 refugee children, aged 6-12, who are unable to access government or UN school provision. The schools are safe places with a trusted adult presence. Where other projects of this kind bring in teachers from the outside, our model raises up teachers from within the Syrian refugee community. It costs just £194 a year to educate one Syrian refugee child in one of our tent schools, so the total of £2245 raised from the banquet is enough to educate 11 children for a whole year.
"I'm delighted that the evening was such a huge success and raised vital funds for a very worthwhile cause. I'm grateful to all the volunteers that helped to make the event possible, and to Tuppenny Barn, who very kindly provided the venue for free".
Rachel Bentley, Director of Children on the Edge said:
"We'd like to say an enormous thank you to Juliet and her team for not only providing such a lovely evening of fine dining and entertainment, but raising so much for our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. As a small charity, funds like this really do make a huge difference, so we are grateful to everyone who was involved for making the event such a success".
Find out more about how you can organise a fundraising event for Children on the Edge.
George Hemmati is on his way to Venice this weekend to take part in the Venice Marathon for Children on the Edge. It's his first ever marathon and he's hoping to raise £350 for us after hearing about our work with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. We chatted to George about his challenge....
What made you decide to do the Venice Marathon?
Well I've never done a marathon and I've never been to Venice so I thought two birds, one stone!
What made you want to fundraise for Children on the Edge?
I was keen to run for a charity working with refugees and then I came across the Promising Practices project. It was here that I noticed Children on the Edge had been chosen as one of the top 20 leading projects in refugee education with your work with Rohingya refugees. I was particularly inspired by your work given the scale of the atrocities being inflicted in Myanmar so it was really a no brainer.
Have you taken on anything like this before?
I've done a handful of half marathons in my time but never a whole one! (eek)
What are you most excited about?
I'm looking forward to that race day buzz. Wherever you're running, it's always great to have a crowd cheering you on and chucking you the odd jelly baby to keep you fuelled!
What are you most nervous about?
Not being able to get a reservation at a restaurant after. I'll be craving a BIG pizza!
How have you been training for the marathon?
I downloaded a training plan online and tracking my runs using an app. I'd be lying if I said that I've stuck to it religiously but I've managed to tick off most of them off. The best parts having been heading out on those Sunday mornings and running down Regents Canal. It's dreamy! The worst parts have been trying to motivate myself to run after work when it's dark and all you want to do is relax - never easy. The 22 miler in my training plan was also pretty gruelling!
Whilst we won't be in Venice to cheer George round the course on Sunday (sadly), we wish him the best of luck and we'll be sure to eat some pizza in his honour this weekend!
Can you help George reach his sponsorship target? He's got just £75 more to go! If you need some motivation, just look how hard he's been training.....
UPDATE 25th October:
George completed the Venice Marathon on Sunday 22nd October 2017, in 3 hours and 47 minutes, a fantastic achievement! His current fundraising total is £429, well over his target of £350. So he deserves a huge well done on both counts.
I actually had a great time for the most part but the last 12k was KILLER! I finished in 3:47 so chuffed with that (the photos are from the last kilometre!). And yes I had pasta AND pizza after.
Well done George!
October 8th 2017, we held the sixth annual Children on the Edge Chichester Half Marathon, raising a record-breaking £33, 294 for our work with vulnerable children around the world.
The event has been growing year-on-year and we were delighted to have a record 1160 runners register for this year's race in one of three popular events - the Half Marathon, Ten Miler and Team Relay.
Organised in conjunction with Everyone Active, the event is one of our key fundraising events throughout the year. It is only made possible thanks to the support of our local sponsors; Montezuma’s Chocolates and Store Property who have generously supported the event each year since is was revived in 2012.
The race has become a popular date in the diary for runners across the South, especially with our challenging multi-terrain course over the Downs taking in the Trundle and Centurion Way.
Ben Wilkes, UK Director at Children on the Edge said:
“This year's race raised a record £33,294, which will make a huge difference to our work with vulnerable children. We are grateful to all our runners, sponsors and supporters who make the event possible and we continue to be blown away by the support we receive from the local community. It’s great to see the event growing year on year and we look forward to next year's race on Sunday 7th October!"
Children on the Edge would like to thank local businesses Chichester College, Covers, Evans Weir, Gnarly Tree, Harries Coffee, Krowmark Workwear, Natures Way Foods, The Run Company, South Downs Water and Wiley for all their support to make the event happen. We couldn't do it without them.
Along with our regular runners, we also had a fantastic team of runners all raising money for Children on the Edge as part of our Run for Refugees Team. Our 25 fundraisers raised an incredible £7,096 for our work with refugee children in Bangladesh and Lebanon. This included, Mrs Salmond Smith, Mr Bromfield & Mr Brittain, teachers from Prebendal School in Chichester, who took part in the Team Relay and raised £255.
Nicky Hellard has volunteered at the Chichester Half Marathon for the past two years and this year decided to run instead. She didn't believe she could finish the race; but took on the challenge, trained hard and built her confidence each week with longer runs, raising £322 in the process.
When asked what she'd say to someone else thinking about fundraising for Children on the Edge she said:
"It is a great charity that does wonderful work right in the front line with the most vulnerable and overlooked children in the world. As charities go they are one of the best, the staff are dedicated and the overheads are extremely low".
We are enormously grateful to everyone who took part, raised money, or supported the event as a volunteer or spectator. We can't wait to see you again next year!
Do you want to take on a challenge for Children on the Edge? Find out how.
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.
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