19 Sep 2013

Great boats of fire! Fierce competition as dragon boat racers bring rain and prosperity to Bristol


Fundraiser Shelley Watts and her crew will be bringing a spectacle of vibrant colour, rhythmic drum-beats, and possibly a dash of rain, to Bristol docklands later this month when they take part in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival.

Taking place on the 22nd, the festival is a unique boating race, which allows crew to choose the charity they want to raise money for. The festival will be staged at Baltic Wharf in Bristol Docklands, where crews of 16 paddlers (plus a drummer) race in Chinese-style Dragon Boats over a 250-metre course.

Befriending service

Shelley and her crew will be racing the dragon to raise money for befriending charity, Time2Share.

Time2Share is a Bristol-based charity providing a befriending service to disabled children and their families since 1972. The charity’s mission is to offer disabled children and their parents/carers the friendship and support they need and deserve to live an ordinary life. By fostering long-lasting friendships between volunteers and the families, the charity’s befriending service aims to boost confidence for the children, allow them to try out new activities while developing their own independence.

It’s a cause close to Shelley’s heart, and one she believes is essential to building local communities.

She said: “Time2Share is a local charity that struggles to find anywhere near the same level of funding as the well-known (and as well deserving) larger ones yet provides an absolutely invaluable service to the community around us and it would be a travesty if it had to stop running.”

Bridging the gap

For Shelley, Time2Share provides a vital link between disabled young people and the community.

She said: “I have seen first hand the realities they face, it's the key social support that is needed yet rarely given priority. Time2Share helps bridge this gap and reaches out to support not just the young people but the families around them.”

Reaching out

Shelley believes using MyDonate has helped them to reach out to an audience that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. This has increased their capacity to raise as much money as possible for Time2Share while demonstrating what they are doing.

She said: “It has enabled those supporters we have to make their own choices as to HOW they donate, many finding the online option a much more convenient and safer one than the traditional sponsor form and cash, though of course not taking its place entirely.”

Shelley’s fundraising page can be found here.

For more information about Time2Share and how the charity engages with the Bristol community, please view their website.

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