August 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
In June, Nick and Becky Boulton kindly donned their cycling shoes and took to the road on their bikes for the London to Brighton bike ride to raise money for TWOWEEKS. Inspired by the superhuman accomplishments of the amazing athletes at the Paralympics (including gold medallists Hannah Cockcroft, Divid Weir and Johnny Peacock), Nick, a public servant, and Becky, a pharmacist, wanted to tackle a challenge in the name of a good cause. We asked them to tell us about their experience and fundraising effort. For those who would like to add to their wonderful fundraising effort – you can visit the Virgin Giving site here.
Tell us about yourselves – what do you enjoy doing?
Becky: I love baking, and crafts such as sewing and quilting. I now have a great love of cycling (although it’s much more enjoyable on a fine sunny day). I also enjoy Kickboxing, street dance, yoga and Judo although most of the time I can be found bimbling around my home, cooking and reading or going to the cinema.
Nick: I like to practice martial arts, read, watch films and train in the gym.
Why did you choose to fundraise for TWOWEEKS?
Becky: I have always wanted to get involved in aid work but as I have always had a full time job throughout my adult life I have never had the chance to pursue this dream. I love the fact that with TWOWEEKS, professionals can volunteer on a short-term basis, meaning that I can help out with a worthy project across the globe without having to take a sabbatical from work. So when I decided that I wanted to do the London to Brighton bike ride there was no question as to what charity I would raise money for.
Nick: I like the idea of going abroad and directly helping people in need and getting the satisfaction of knowing you will make a difference rather than just giving money to a charity.
How did you train for the bike ride?
Becky: I started training in March and I could have started earlier if it wasn’t for all the snow! Starting was slow and initially I started just by cycling to and from work although, as I live on Reigate Hill on the North Downs, the 4-mile ride to work and back again was a rather good start. I then went into full swing with training by cycling to work on weekdays and taking time on the weekends to go on long cycles in the Surrey Hills or along the Brighton coast. As the training progressed I got fitter and could go faster and longer. It now only takes me 8 minutes to cycle the 2 miles to work in the morning and only 12 minutes to get back in the evening (give me a break – it’s mostly uphill on the way back!). I was also able to increase the length, difficulty and distance of my weekend rides. Going from just 10 miles along the Brighton prom to a 23-mile ride around the Surrey Hills including part of the route that the cyclist did at the Olympics. Although I did have to stop for a breather a couple of times on the zigzag road on Box Hill (but who can blame me?).
What were the highs of training?
Becky: The feeling of achievement after having done a long ride or beating my personal best for my morning ride to work or evening ride back. I’m a very competitive person so any time I beat my husband is also a high point. However, he has always been a lot fitter than I am so this doesn’t happen very often.
Nick: Resting and relaxing afterwards…
Tell us about the ride itself.
Becky: We set out from Clapham Common at 9.30am, filled with excitement and apprehension. There was a lot of queuing to get out of London but we didn’t mind much as the atmosphere of the people around us was great and frankly it forced us to take it slowly. The hills were a bit bothersome for many reasons; one because there was a lot of up and little down, and two because almost everyone got off and pushed on them so it was impossible to get up them quickly. There was a few times that were well worth the hard work though. This included the really steep downhill bits where I could go as fast as I would brave (hit 35mph on one of the hills in Brighton!) and the support from cyclists and spectators alike.
Why do you think fundraising for charity matters?
Becky: We are very lucky to live in a country where we get free, good-quality healthcare, schools and other public services and live to a very high standard of living compared to a lot of places in the world. I therefore think it’s only fair that we help and support countries and communities that are not so lucky. I would love to think that by getting on my bike, getting fit, and having a fabulous and memorable day, I may have helped to change somebody’s life for the better.
August 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Aside from the usual tasks at hand on our April 2012 trip to South Africa my other focus on the trip was planning for the future and our ongoing partnership with Lily of the Valley Orphanage.
As time has gone on we have rolled out more trips and had more and more volunteers donating their time and sharing their skills with the team at Lily and communities in the surrounding townships. However, as Lily has also expanded, the pressures on accommodation have become more acute and so TWOWEEKS is now building a house there. Our very first TWOWEEKS home that will accommodation both long and short-term volunteers!
Our aim is that this will not only serve as a place for our volunteers to stay whilst they are working at Lily but also serve as a base for this region as requests for help from other volunteers and NGOs has increased in recent months, if not years.
TWOWEEKS has been working with Lily for over six years and our team and volunteers have enjoyed our time working with the staff and volunteers at Lily and within the surrounding communities immensely. We initially started out as a couple of doctors looking after the children at the orphanage but as time has gone on and our remit and vision has developed and extended we have found ourselves being approached by other organisations, charities and NGOs in the Durban region. They have all asked us to assist them with their needs and it is part of the TWOWEEKS vision to work with organisations that have sustainable and ongoing enterprises and reach out to the community.
With our progression and success, issues with accommodation have arisen which have meant we have had to turn volunteers away due to a limited capacity to accommodate them at Lily. So, with this and other issues in mind we would like to address this by building our very own accommodation – our first ‘TWOWEEKS Home’. This will serve as a base for our volunteers to stay in, to assist not only with the children at Lily of the Valley but also with other partners and organisations in the surrounding areas. Our vision is to develop a student volunteer and elective program for students training in different professions. These would initially include medical, nursing and dental students who need experience in a different environment but who could also assist the staff and volunteers at Lily and contribute to sustainable enterprises.
TWOWEEKS HOME REQUIREMENTS
TWOWEEKS now proposes that we build a dedicated home at Lily for future volunteers – both long and short term. We will be responsible for the fundraising to build and furnish this house.
We will seek contributions from elective students and corporate sponsorship to pay for overheads such as running water and electricity so that Lily does not incur any additional costs.
WHAT IS NEEDED?
- A four to six bedroom home, which can accommodate two people per bedroom
- Ideally two separate living areas – a lounge and a kitchen/diner
- Two bathrooms/shower rooms
- Ideally two rooms with en-suite shower rooms which would be reserved for long-term volunteers
- Secure storage space/cupboards
- The property would be located near to other residential sites. We have already started looking at accommodation near to Bushwillow
- Opportunity to extend the property with a view to accommodating long-term volunteers
- Areas that enable outside living and relaxation
WHY IS IT NEEDED?
Back in 2010, I was part of a team that had medical volunteers and we did our usual trip into the community to see the sick and dying. One of the people we saw was an elderly lady and her mature son who had severe learning disabilities. He was in his 30s and this poor lady was struggling with his care. She loved her son dearly but found it difficult to ensure that he did not wander away and cause himself harm. He also suffered with epilepsy and so ensuring this added issue did not lead to serious harm caused her to lock him away in a small wooden shed to ensure that he did not get lost and that she could care for him as she herself did not have the best mobility and health.
We obviously were all affected by what we saw and other members of the team had seen similar cases such as this in the community. Other situations became evident when volunteers assisted in the local township schools and saw mature adults with learning difficulties put into corners and left to their own devices (with supervision to ensure that they did not come to harm). However, there was no dedicated therapy or education and so we quickly concluded that a teacher with special needs training and assistance from an occupational therapist would help people in these situations immensely. They would not only provide assistance for the time they were there, but also try and impart some knowledge of even simple things that could be done by teachers and parents/carers to help make these individuals lives better.
Remarkably, on our return back to the UK we held an introductory meeting soon after and a teacher with special needs experience attended and expressed an interest in joining the trip going out later that year. However, after all was said and done, there was not sufficient accommodation available at Lily at that time and we were unable to utilise this lady’s skills. It was an opportunity lost and it was at that stage that we realised that if we are to continue to develop what we are doing and expand, we need a more long-term solution for our accommodation and storage of equipment. Lily has their hands full feeding and providing for their 126 children and we have all felt the effects of the recession so money to build further accommodation is limited. We have decided to do it on their behalf and raise the money ourselves.
We have the site and land set aside for us and we also have the plans and vision of building a 6-bedroom property. Now we need £10,000 to complete it. Please join us in completing this task so that more people can go and help.
Any ideas or extra pairs of hands to help us with our cause would be very much appreciated.Join us and turn this house into a home, a TWOWEEKS home.
Karen Patten | email@example.com
June 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
We posted on the blog in April about Connie Lowe’s wonderful fundraising efforts for TWOWEEKS. Well, she ran the marathon on the 22nd of April in an impressive 4 hours 24 minutes and 13 seconds and she had an absolute blast doing it.
“Being a first time marathon runner I didn’t know what to expect particularly during the last 10km as I had never run that far before. It was painful towards the last half an hour, I was on the brink of wanting to walk it, but I persevered and ran all the way. I had a lot of fun, the crowd were very supportive, and it was an amazing experience to run around London and to see all the historic landmarks.
It was rewarding to run with a purpose, knowing that I had the support and encouragement of my friends and all the people who had kindly donated to TwoWeeks. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to run on behalf of TwoWeeks – I would do it again and encourage others to do the same!”
Connie is a fantastic example of the type of volunteering and fundraising that TWOWEEKS is always looking for more of so if you’re interested in getting involved, please get in touch.
Connie’s fundraising page will be open until September so please lend your support. Every little bit means the world!
April 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
Every year TwoWeeks sees wonderful people volunteering their time, energy and enthusiasm to help us fundraise. One of our latest supporters is Connie Lowe, who will be running The London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April to help raise money for TwoWeeks. We asked her to share a few words. If you would like to donate to TwoWeeks in aid of Connie’s fantastic commitment then please do so here.
What you do Connie?
I work and live in Auckland, New Zealand.
How did you get involved with TwoWeeks?
I was introduced to TwoWeeks by a friend who informed me the charity needed a finance volunteer. I went to one of the introduction sessions and was inspired by how people were using their skills and their vocation to help children at the Lily. I have enjoyed my time working as a volunteer for TwoWeeks and I have made some great friends along the way too.
How are you feeling about the upcoming marathon?
I am excited to be running my first marathon, but instead of running it for personal fulfilment I thought I could use my marathon entry to help somebody or something and TwoWeeks immediately came to mind! To finish the marathon would be a nice personal achievement but to know that someone’s life could be impacted or changed is even more rewarding.
February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
Hi my name is Sarah and I am a pharmacist who visited Lily of the Valley in April 2011. During my trip I fell in love with the kids, the country and the amazing work that TWOWEEKS does. On returning, myself and my fellow pharmacists decided that we wanted to organise a fundraiser for the Lily project. Before volunteering with TWOWEEKS we had climbed Killimanjaro in Tanzania so decided that we would stick with the mountain theme….thus Three Peaks.
Three Peaks challenge not only involves climbing the highest peak in England (Scafell Pike), Wales (Snowdon) and Scotland (Ben Nevis) but doing this in a mere 24 hours. You can find out more about the challenge here.
This challenge will not only be an amazing achievement but will raise money for TWOWEEKS. This money will go towards building our TWOWEEKS house at Lily of the Valley in Mophela enabling more volunteers the opportunity to offer their skills with the added possibility of a medical elective programme being initiated in the near future. This medical elective programme is something that we at TWOWEEKS are very excited about as it will mean a constant medical presence at the Lily clinic and the elective students will hopefully bring some money to Lily which will be used to improve the level of care offered at the clinic. Rather than collecting money off people we will be setting up a Virgin Money Giving page enabling donors to pledge money online. Details of this will follow.
Someone has kindly agreed to provide us with a minibus so now all we need is 2-3 designated drivers who are not competing and some willing volunteers. The provisional date for the challenge has been set for June 30 2011 and we will endeavour to organise a training weekend although being such a potentially large group all of us with busy lives people will need to organise their own training and ensure that come June they feel they are fit enough. We won’t be asking for people to commit until March for the time being we are just seeing who is interested.
For the time being I would recommend having a look at the website if you’re interested and begin some light cardio training such as walking, jogging, cross trainer etc. If you have not yet expressed interest then please drop me an email (below) so I can add you to my mailing list and then you will receive the regular newsletters. We are hoping to find some people that have completed this challenge to come along to a meeting one night so if you know anyone that’s done it and wouldn’t mind giving up an evening to share their wisdom and top tips then let me know.