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Fundraiser Tales: Alison at the Godalming Carnival
Supporting Challengers at an event can be a hugely rewarding experience. For this Fundraiser Tale, we hear from Alison, one of our Parent Ambassadors. Earlier this year, she organised our stand at the Godalming Carnival, which raised a fantastic £601! She talks about how she got involved with Challengers, the planning of the event, and some of her highlights from the day.
I went to last year’s Godalming town show and carnival and saw for myself what a fun, enjoyable event it was with a real community feel. Lots of charities were represented, and I thought it would be great if Challengers could have a presence there too.
As a mum of a little girl with severe learning disabilities, Challengers has quickly become a real lifeline for me and my family. I became a parent ambassador last year as I want to spread the word and do what I can to help. I feel passionately about what Challengers does for the children and young people who attend, and for their families who get a bit of a break when their children are having fun at the schemes. I know that quite a lot of people in Godalming have heard of Challengers, and a fair number of us living in the town use it too. I thought it could be a great opportunity to increase awareness of Challengers locally as well as raising some money at the same time.
I suggested it to Katie Ledger, who works in the Community & Challenge Events Team for Challengers, who asked if I would be happy to manage it myself. After checking I could be free all day on the day and that I had a few friends happy to help me, I was really pleased to take it on.
I had a lot of help and support from Katie in organising it, and so I was pretty well prepared on the day. It was a lovely sunny day so perfect for getting loads of people to the show, and everything went pretty smoothly. My lovely friends and other volunteers, including Laura from the Challengers office, were very generous with their time and efforts. One friend helped me for the entire day from setting up in the morning to packing up after it was all over, and another gave up loads of time on her birthday to help man the stall as well as packing up and delivering some raffle prizes afterwards! It was lovely to talk to people of all ages at the show, and I was really happy to be able to tell people who hadn’t heard of Challengers what it’s all about. People seemed really interested and enjoyed playing our games and eating our cakes, and the time seemed to fly by.
I started planning the raffle a few months in advance. I had the offer of a brilliant raffle prize from Specsavers in Godalming and so I decided to build on that, getting some other high quality raffle prizes from local businesses which I hoped would encourage people to buy lots of tickets (it worked!). Some of these came from the efforts of Challengers volunteers and some I approached myself. People were really generous and I felt very happy that we had something enticing to offer people coming to the show, along with some amazing cupcakes to draw people in, as well as some fun games for children (including “Guess the name of the teddy bear” with an enormous and rather cute bear as the prize!) Katie gave me a great deal of support and advice so I didn’t feel like I was floundering around on my own. I’ve never run one of these before but she has done loads, so that was hugely important.
To be honest, I really enjoyed the whole day. I was a bit nervous at first as I really wanted it to go well, but we soon got into the swing of it and it was lovely just talking to people about Challengers and seeing the raffle tickets and cupcakes get snapped up. It was great to see lots of orange Challengers balloons bobbing around Burys Field where the event was held, as we had loads of them to give out to children. And all the people helping me were so kind and generous with their time, it was just a really great feel-good day!
As a parent I was particularly glad to be able to talk to a couple of other parents and carers in similar circumstances about how Challengers really can help families, and there were also some stand-out individual moments too. These included a spontaneous donation of raffle prizes on the day from the manager of Godalming Leisure Centre, who is a great new contact for us. Another was meeting a lovely bride-to-be who was interested in finding out more about possibly asking her wedding guests to donate to Challengers instead of giving presents. And a third was a generous donation from a member of the public who hadn’t heard of Challengers but after a quick chat, just handed over £20 without wanting anything in return. People seemed to really enjoy the show and the carnival and it was a very happy community event.
I didn’t really know what to expect – I just wanted to raise as much money and awareness as possible. I was thrilled to hear the total and that it was a good amount for an event of this type. There was a lot of competition as the field was packed with stalls and things for people to spend their money on, so I’m just really grateful to everyone who supported us. It was lovely to be able to do this in my home town and with the support of my friends, and I’m so glad that more people will now know of Challengers as a result.
Inspired to volunteer for Challengers at an event? Visit our Volunteer Vacancies page and look at the latest event volunteering opportunities we’ve got coming up. If you’re interested in running your own event or collection for Challengers, visit our Ideas & Inspiration page for lots of tips and advice from us!
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