A female cyclist at the side of the road, preparing to ride off

After 20 years of fundraising challenges, the coronavirus pandemic forced us to find new ways to support our community last year.

Now we’re delighted to announce that we’re back for 2021.

In previous years we have run, hiked, climbed, and even driven. This year, we will be attempting a “by any means necessary” journey, as we take on the Length of the UK Virtual Challenge, a road trip from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

The whole HA&W team will be walking, running, treadmilling, cycling, and exercise biking in aid of Loughborough Area Food Bank, an amazing local charity supporting our community’s most vulnerable.

Here’s everything you need to know.

The challenge: Land’s End to John o’Groats

Over 10 days – starting on 10 September – the 10-strong HA&W team will complete a total of 1,083 miles (1,743 km).

We will be using The Conqueror app to track our progress as we head “virtually” south, covering the length of the UK. The app allows us to log the miles we spend running, walking, or cycling, and supplies a street view of the sights we pass along the way.

Not only that, as we complete the challenge, we will also be helping to plant trees, with 450,000 already planted by the Conqueror since August 2020.

The charity: Loughborough Food Bank

As well as planting trees, we’ll be raising money for our chosen charity, Loughborough Area Food Bank.

The coronavirus pandemic has proved a challenging time for us all and for different reasons. The effects of job losses and business closures have left many struggling and the Loughborough Food Bank has been there to help.

As a local charity, it is supporting the vulnerable in our own community and has given away over 82 tonnes of food since it was founded in 2018. In the 2020/21 tax year alone, they helped 4,936 people (38% of whom were children).

The pandemic has seen a fourfold increase in those using the charity, but they don’t just supply much-needed food. They also provide access to debt counselling and mental health support.

Poverty can be crippling and soul destroying but the welcoming atmosphere and the kindness of the volunteers help to put people at ease, many staying for a hot drink, a chat, or a game of pool or table tennis.

The charity has been able to rehouse families in dire need and also runs an in-house debt management service that has seen a number of people go debt-free!

The money we raise will help to extend the services offered, including providing tips for budgeting and maximising income and helping people to find work. The charity’s long-term aim is to help people solve the underlying issues of poverty.

The money we raise through our virtual challenge will make a huge difference and we know that, as in previous years, we can rely on your support.

How you can get involved

Be sure to check in for regular updates on how our challenge is progressing.

You can also take a look at the incredible work the Loughborough Area Food Bank is doing and donate to our cause.

You can donate via our 2021 Fundraising Form, which allows us to keep track of the money we have raised. Clicking “Submit” will take you to the charity’s official donation page where you will be asked to enter your full details.

If you would rather pay by cheque, please let us know and we will send you a prepaid envelope along with cheque details for the charity.

We’ll soon be adding a dedicated page to our website so you can find all the information you need about the challenge and the charity, as well as keeping track of our progress, so watch this space!