Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Britain’s longest-running fundraising week, Christian Aid Week, took the innovative approach to shift its fundraising efforts online – with the organisation’s supporters up-and-down the country embracing the challenge with zeal.
The annual fundraising week unites 50,000 volunteers and 12,000 churches to fundraise to help some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.
With the famous red envelopes unable to be delivered by Christian Aid’s dedicated volunteers, virtual fundraising ideas were launched to encourage the nation to continue to give, as well as creating a digital envelope that supporters could pass on to neighbours, friends and family. Daily online quizzes kept the masses entertained throughout the week, while raising funds.
A quiz featuring former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Gogglebox’s Kate Bottley and Rev Giles Fraser as quiz masters saw more than 500 teams take part on a Facebook Premiere event to raise money for Christian Aid.
In Kingston, Surrey, six ministers from different denominations came together clock up two million steps between them to raise money for some of the world’s poorest communities during Christian Aid Week.
The ministers – rector of All Saints’ Church, Kingston, the Rev Jonathan Wilkes; Fr Martin Hislop of St Luke’s Church, Kingston; minister of Kingston Methodist Church, the Rev Dr Karl Rutlidge; vicar of St John the Evangelist, Grove Road, Kingston, the Rev Mark Stafford, and ministers of the United Reformed Church in Kingston the Rev Lesley Charlton and the Rev Suk In Lee – surpassed their £15,000 goal and have continued to raise an incredible amount for the international charity.
Kingston Christian Aid Group member, Ian Williamson said: “We are amazed and gratified by how generous people in Kingston and around have been in these difficult times.
“We had no real expectation of getting a response as large as £16,000! We think that they too realise that though things are difficult enough for us in the UK, these times are – and will be – much harder for those that face the threat of Covid-19 in places where soap is an unaffordable luxury, water is precious, health services not so developed, and living conditions (particularly in places like the refugee camps) hugely overcrowded.”
Among the many Christian Aid supporters to create their own innovative fundraising ideas was Basingstoke singer-songwriter, Emma Rosso, who attends Saint Mark’s Church Kempshott. Emma, who has aired on BBC Radio 2, pledged 50% of the proceeds of her latest single, Half The Way Away, to the international charity.
Emma said: “I have always admired the work that Christian Aid has done and their ultimate aim to end a world with poverty. Everyone has been touched by the devastating effects of the coronavirus, but Christian Aid is helping the poorest countries with some of the weakest health systems in their response to this deadly disease.
“I believe we need to rise and make a change to help make the world a fairer place. I want to raise money for Christian Aid, because I believe they will really help the lives of those half the world away.”
Six youngsters aged 5-10, from Taunton, Somerset set their own challenge of cycling – or scooting – 70km between, taking turns to complete a 1km circuit, and so far have raised nearly £800. The children – Mabel (6) and Martha (9) Jones, Bobbie (5) and Annabelle (3) Florey, and Hattie ((7) and Archie (11) Edwards – live on the King’s College School campus, where some of their parents, Laura Jones, Emma Edwards and Sam Florey look after students as Houseparents.
Mabel and Martha’s mum, Laura Jones, said: “It’s really difficult to know what they could do as a team, as that’s what they really wanted, but also while keeping to the social distancing rules. So the cycle ride was the perfect solution.
“We are very proud of their achievement – this was a wonderful team effort.”
To find out more, visit caweek.org
Christian Aid is a National Agency of Churches Together in England.