Charities are looking to alternative fundraising opportunities as members of the public get behind them during lockdown restrictions.
While visitor centres are closed and events cancelled, activities including sponsorship, donations, and art sales could help raise vital funds with support from the public.
Brooke, the Horse Trust, Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and the RSPCA are among those to sign up to the national 2.6 Challenge. The challenge involves picking an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and completing it on 26 April – when the London Marathon should have taken place, while raising sponsorship for a charity. All activities are welcome, from running 2.6 miles to doing 26 press-ups, baking 26 cakes or giving up chocolate for 26 hours.
As part of the 2.6 challenge, RSPCA staff at the charity’s West Hatch centre in Somerset took on a 26-metre race on ‘Ponycycles’ (wheeled model horses). A further race is planned on 26 April to be live-streamed on the centre’s Facebook page.
In a separate fundraising effort, racehorse trainer Harry Dunlop’s son Tom, 14, is raising funds for the Lambourn Group of the RDA. Tom has set himself the challenge of raising £1,000 by running one or two of the Jockey Club Estates Lambourn gallops daily, until he completes 26 miles – which he aims to do by 26 April.
“In the lockdown I got a bit bored and wanted to do something to help a charity and I thought about the RDA,” said Tom.
“In the past my old pony Flicker had been used by an RDA rider and I saw how much happiness it gave to her. I also read about their struggles in the local newspaper, so I thought by raising money during this pandemic I could help keep them going.”
Remus Horse Sanctuary is asking supporters to “help from their sofa” via Give As You Live, a cashback website for registered charities. It works by users signing up to the website and selecting Remus as their chosen charity, then when they orderfrom a choice of online retailers, a percentage of the transaction amount is donated by the website to the charity.
The Moorland Mousie Trust, which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre and aims to promote and protect the breed, is appealing for support via donations. The charity said during the spring and summer seasons it usually generates around £45,000 from activities and events at the centre and is hoping to raise £35,000 to help reduce its losses during the pandemic.
A young volunteer, Georgia, has completed 620 star jumps on a trampoline – more than her 500 target – for Dublin-based charity My Lovely Horse Rescue. Georgia has raised €510(£446) to date, with donations still welcome in aid of the welfare charity.
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The Donkey Sanctuary’s residents in the charity’s Sidmouth and Leeds centres have welcomed carrot donations from supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons. More than 150kg of carrots have been donated providing a “much-needed treat” for the donkeys, and they will be also used for enrichment activities.
Art for Cure, a charity raising funds for breast cancer care and research through selling fine art, sculptures and photograph is holding an online exhibition of equestrian and field sports art and sculpture. The event, taking place at www.artforcure.org.uk on 7 May at 6pm, will feature the work of more than 100 artists.
The charity’s founder Belinda Gray said: “We are very excited to present this extraordinary collection of art to include so many wonderful pieces for the horse and country sport enthusiasts. All money raised is personally monitored and channelled where it is intended.”
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