The Covid-19 pandemic has had catastrophic effects on charities and their ability to fundraise. With the London Marathon being cancelled in April the ‘2.6 Challenge’ to save Britain’s charities was born, encouraging people to take on fundraising challenges based on 2.6 (as the marathon is 26 miles).
John Burgess, our Homeless Support Service Manager, decided to take on the challenge to raise funds for Rainbow Centre. Further than being locked down, John is actually ‘shielding’ due to having a kidney transplant 18 years ago, so unable to go out even for his daily exercise he thought he would combine his love of cycling with the challenge and devised the 10-day Lockdown Cycle. Using his bike on his turbo trainer in his back garden meant he could cycle in a stationary position for 2.6 hours a day.
John was also still working from home so adding another 2.6 hours’ worth of cycling around his days’ work was no mean feat. He used mornings before work, lunchtimes and after work to complete his challenge. Note: no laptops or mobile phones were harmed in the completing of this challenge.
He started on Bank Holiday Friday and completed his first couple days easily with nice weather and no work commitments, cycling approximately 30 miles each day. By day three it was cold, wet and windy and his body was starting to complain but he was spurred on by the thought that many people in our community have no choice but to sleep out in the cold wet and windy weather making their body hurt and they have to do this day after day, week after week and he admitted he couldn’t begin to imagine what that must be like.
On day four John’s thoughts turned to the similarity between cyclists and homeless people, for both it is imperative to keep hydrated, especially during the hot weather. Lack of water can lead to fatigue, headache, and also negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination.
Day 5 marked the halfway point and 150 miles had been cycled in 13 hours and by the end of day 6, John’s body was noticeably starting to struggle with the challenge. After 6 days in the saddle, he really wished ‘Saddlesaurus’ was a type of dinosaur!!
John cycled his day 7 hours around catching up with partner agencies and drawing up joint support plans for a mutual client. Partnership working is really important to ensure clients receive all the necessary help they need from the experts in each area and allows them to have a comprehensive support plan that meets all their needs not just their lack of accommodation.
Day 8 and 9 took their toll and John was looking forward the end of the challenge and he reflected on how music has got him through this cycle challenge and how we take for granted what we see as small comforts such as your favourite music, TV show or a hobby. Our homeless clients can lose out on so many things that help us cope with what life throws at us.
Day 10 finally marked the end of John’s ‘2.6 challenge’, he has cycled 26 hrs over 10 days (approx 300 miles) and, including gift aid, he has raised almost £700 for the Rainbow Centre. This money will help the Rainbow Centre continue to touch the lives of individuals and families in crisis.
There is still time to support John by donating via his page which remains open until 8 August. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnBurgess20
If you would like to do a 2.6 challenge of your own you can find ideas and inspiration at https://www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk/