Don’t let coronavirus beat UK charities

Thousands of fundraising events across the UK have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying at home is the best thing we can do to fight the spread of the illness but that does mean that many charities are close to collapse; it is estimated that revenues will be down by four billion as a result of coronavirus.

However, we can still raise money and have fun even during lockdown. The organisers of the biggest mass participation sports events across the country have come together to create a new campaign to raise vital funds and save the UK’s charities.

The campaign, the 2.6 Challenge, will launch on what would have been the date of the London Marathon – Sunday 26th April. The London Marathon, which would have been in its 40th year, is the world’s biggest one-day annual fundraising event, raising £66.4 million for different charities in 2019.

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We can’t race but we can raise money. From 26th April, the great British public – that’s you – are being asked to dream up a sporting activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to Save The UK’s Charities.

The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age; all you need to do is be sporty, be inventive and follow government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

"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." 

Are you going to get the street together for a communal 26 minute driveway fitness drill or do a FaceTime hallway relay with the family – 26 laps each from front door to back door? Whatever you decide, it’s a great way to work together and help keep our vital charities going.

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Hugh Brasher, co-chair of MSO and event director of London Marathon Events, explains: "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 would 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. We are asking everyone to create a 2.6 Challenge of their own and raise funds or pledge a donation." 

Paul Foster, chief executive at the Great Run Company, adds: “The 2.6 Challenge is an excellent opportunity for all of us, and our network of amazing runners and partners from around the UK to do something to help the incredible UK charity sector at this challenging time. The spirit of the Great North Run is about achieving great things together. While we can’t be together right now, we can still join together virtually and support this great cause. By taking part in The 2.6 Challenge, whether it be through running 2.6 miles, kms, or minutes, whatever challenge big or small – we can all support charities who need our support now more than ever due to the fundraising they are missing out on with as many large events have been cancelled." 

Click here to make a donation.