The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on UK charities, with the cancellation of thousands of events and the loss of billions of pounds in fundraising income. In response, organisers of the biggest mass-participation sports events across the country have come together to create a new campaign to raise vital funds to help to save the UK’s charities.
The 2.6 Challenge launches on Sunday 26 April – what should have been the 40th London Marathon, the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019. As it cannot take place as planned, organisers have created a “lockdown-friendly event” which is easy for anyone to join in and make a difference, especially for smaller local charities.
It can be something as simple as walking or running 2.6 miles, 2.6 kms – or 26 press-ups, 26 minutes walking round the garden. It can be a sponsored activity, or a donation – £2.60 or £26 – whatever is affordable – it all adds up and will make a difference. The only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing and remember to stay local.
BH Live, like so many charities across the UK, has been impacted by COVID-19.
Chris Symons, BH Live’s Chief Executive explains more.
“As a charitable social enterprise, we use commercial activity, such as hosting large scale events, running sports and leisure centres and delivering event catering to fund our subsidised community activity programme – helping more people and families across Dorset, Hampshire and London to access and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of being active and enjoying arts and cultural events. Marking our tenth anniversary this year, we are also a dedicated supporter of many local charities donating thousands of pounds of leisure centre and cultural activities each year. Help is needed now more than ever before.
“The mandatory closure of our venues and leisure centres to protect staff, customers, and the cancellation of many events means that our income for this year will be significantly reduced.
“During the crisis, we have received some generous donations from customers wanting to help us get through this difficult time. We hope however that even more supporters will join the 2.6 Challenge and help even more people in our community.”
From Sunday 26 April 2020, the challenge is to dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise by donating on BH Live’s dedicated JustGiving page.
“The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,”
says Nick Rusling, Co-Chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO) and CEO of Human Race.
“You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes. You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or get 26 people on a video call and do a 26 minute workout – anything you like. We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help Save the UK’s Charities by giving money or raising funds for the charity close to your heart.”
“For many of the UK’s charities, the day of the London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year,” said Hugh Brasher, Co-Chair of MSO and Event Director of London Marathon Events.
“One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon was ‘to show how the family of mankind can be united’. We hope that The 2.6 Challenge, which starts on the day our 40th Race should have taken place, will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities. Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before.”
Organisers behind The 2.6 Challenge include: Human Race, parkrun, The Great Run Company, Run 4 Wales, Grounded Events, London Landmarks, Virgin Sport, Limelight Sports, Threshold Sports, Running High and London Marathon Events. The design and website has been created by Studio Republic and the social media campaign by LiveWire Sport. Both agencies are working pro bono.
The campaign is supported by the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising, the Small Charities Coalition, the Office for Civil Society, Sport England, Let’s Do This, Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving.
Notes to Editors:
For more information about BH Live please contact:
Elizabeth Symmons, PR & Corporate Communications Executive
About BH Live
BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a charitable social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.
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