As 2021 started there were signs that things were to become more challenging than previously. Not just national lockdown, but members of Sterling’s three Cheltenham-based groups decided to take on a fundraising challenge for our charity partner Leonard Cheshire.
The Challenge team is fundraising in a bid to keep the wheels in motion this year for Leonard Cheshire’s inclusive cycling scheme ‘Gloucestershire Wheels For All’. Funding for the scheme runs out this month and emergency funding is sought to save it from closure.
Wheels For All runs inclusive, off-road, cycling sessions for disabled and non-disabled people using a variety of bikes, including wheelchair transporters, recumbent trikes, companion bikes and hand cycles. The adapted bikes mean anyone aged 5 upwards can take part – whether they have a sensory, physical, learning disability or mental health condition, including dementia. The scheme has continued even throughout lockdown, providing vital physical and mental health benefits to people with disabilities who would otherwise have little access to physical exercise.
The idea for the ‘Sterling Cheltenham 2021 Challenge’ was created by QBD’s Liam Maskell and members of the Cheltenham Central group not just as a way to support Sterling’s charity partner, but also to give members a physical and mental health boost, forming a virtual team event through which to reinforce the mutual support across the three groups.
The Challenge asked members from our Cheltenham Central, Regency and Cotswold Virtual groups to complete a combined distance of 2021 kilometres in the 6 weeks between 16th January and 28th February, and this was done by running, cycling or walking. Although the Challenge was not intended to be competitive, our diligent members smashed the distance target, with a phenomenal 2744 kilometres at the close of play.
Sarah Grout, Leonard Cheshire’s Regional Fundraiser, who participated in the Challenge as a member of the Cotswold and Regency groups, said : “That so many members of Sterling took up the Challenge speaks volumes about how supportive our network is and how business, charity and community benefit one another. I was delighted to see conversations taking place between members about the Challenge and of course it has been great to get people raising awareness about Wheels For All. We know that participating in physical activity has notable benefits on all our physical and mental health and yet around 7 in 10 disabled people do not take part in any activity at all. It is vital that we keep the Wheels For All scheme operating so that more people with disabilities can have equal access to these benefits.”
The Sterling Cheltenham 2021 Challenge team are grateful for donations of any size to their JustGiving page at: