Challenge Coniston: Weegie Allstars put through their paces
This September the sleepy, lakeside village of Coniston in Cumbria will come alive with the sound of kayak oars hitting the water and crowds of cheering supporters as the Guide Dogs Coniston Challenge gets underway.
The competition will see contestants endure a 15km bike ride through Grizedale Forest, a tough climb of the Old Man of Coniston (9km walk/803m high) before an exhilarating kayak on Coniston Water, over some 4km.
A key event in the Guide Dogs fundraising calendar, the challenge offers contestants a weekend of team building, the chance to meet new people and share similar experiences whilst raising funds for the charity.
Boosting independence and mobility
Julie Millar, engagement manager for Guide Dogs Scotland, believes fundraising events such as the Coniston Challenge are vital in securing funds for the charity’s mobility and independence boosting services.
She said: “We believe there are around 180,000 people who are blind and partially sighted, throughout the UK, who rarely go out on their own. Guide Dogs wants to change that, and offers a range of services aimed at adults, children and young people to help them regain mobility and independence.”
Julie estimates that each guide dog costs around £50,000 to support through its working life. However, Guide Dogs do not receive government funding and as a result, the charity relies solely on public donations and income from fundraising events such as the Coniston Challenge.
Julie has found MyDonate’s fundraising platform to be an invaluable fundraising resource for the Weegie AllStars whilst boosting their online profile.
She said: “MyDonate offers us a web presence that we can use to promote our fundraising efforts across the Guide Dogs Scotland website and all social media channels.”
Julie believes that many people find online giving much more convenient than providing cash. The platform represents an integral part of their programme of fundraising activities for the Coniston Challenge.
This team event also presents a personal challenge for Ruby Shah. A volunteer development coordinator at Guide Dogs Scotland, Ruby will be taking up the challenge to support Guide Dogs.
She said: “Coniston is my way of supporting Guide Dogs after they have helped me with my guide dog Kassie. She changed my life, so I want to be able to help others.”
Ruby will running the gauntlet with Guide Dog’s Glasgow Mobility Team, otherwise known as Weegie Allstars.
Some members of Weegie Allstars are partially sighted. For them, to embrace such an adventure in a friendly environment with a team who will support each other, will be a rewarding challenge.