05 Sep 2013

Etape Cymru: cyclist hits tarmac for arts charity

Etape CymruIn what is possibly Wales’ answer to the Tour de France, cyclists from across the world will be pedalling through Clwydian Range and the Dee Valley on the 8th of September for the Etape Cymru. Billed as one of the toughest sportives on the UK calendar, the race is renowned for its challenging conditions.

The race combines 88 miles of roads through the rolling Welsh countryside. It weaves in the infamous Horseshoe Pass climb, which involves a 6.1km climb of 317 metres at gradients of up to 20 per cent.

If you think that’s tough, it gets trickier for fundraiser Gavin McIntosh who will be doing the event on a steel frame singlespeed bike. We believe he will be the only person in the event doing this. Unlike standard road bikes, singlespeed bikes have only one gear, which will make the climbs extremely challenging.

With his trusted singlespeed, Gavin will be hitting the tarmac to raise money for Pyramid of Arts, a Leeds-based arts charity. The charity runs collaborative arts groups for people with and without learning disabilities, including a high support programme for people with profound or multiple disabilities. Members meet on a weekly basis and projects include visual arts, such as painting and sculpture and performance, for example drama, dance and music.

Using art to enhance lives

Gavin believes the value of art, both as an end in itself and as a means of helping people to enhance their lives, is frequently neglected. As a painter he appreciates the value of art, both in the unique challenges and satisfaction it offers.

He said: “When I came across Pyramid of Arts I was so impressed by the level of ambition of Julia and the organisation as a whole. Here you have professional artists working closely with such a broad mix of people, some of whom have profound personal challenges to deal with, but there is always a collaborative goal of producing high quality works of art. It's this that makes the projects such rewarding experiences for members and volunteers alike.”

Tough times for charities

Gavin believes times are tough for charities at the moment. Cuts to local government funding have severely impacted the charity. Therefore, every penny raised is precious.

He had previously used another fundraising website. However, on learning that MyDonate allows charities to receive 100 per cent of funds raised, he switched over. He also believes the fundraising page is quick and easy to manage.

He said: “It gives me somewhere to which I can easily direct potential sponsors and it has all of the features I and Pyramid of Arts would need to manage donations and promote the event, so it's really helpful.”

This chimed with Sarah Kennedy, administrator at Pyramid of Arts. She said: “We chose to use MyDonate because, unlike some other websites, it doesn’t take a cut of the donations made to us – we receive 100 per cent. The website is simple to use, and helps us claim Gift Aid which is great.”

You can find Gavin’s fundraising profile. For more information about Pyramid of Arts please visit their website.

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