Charity workers walk 22 miles to support older people in Leeds
Debbie Fawthrop, 40, Sharon Ratcliffe, 50, Ella Baxter, 42 and Sam Waterman, 20, took on the challenge to raise money for Aireborough Voluntary Services to the Elderly (ASVED).
ASVED provides services to socially isolated older people in Guiseley, Yeadon, Rawdon and parts of Apperley Bridge.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the charity's traditional fundraising methods were brought to a sudden halt.
Unable to run the community cafe or host events such as coffee mornings and bingo afternoons, Michelle Phillips, the volunteer engagement officer, began looking for other creative ways to raise some money.
She realised that the boundary for the areas they cover spanned a total of 22 miles and so the 'ASVED 22' challenges began.
Michelle said: "Our traditional fundraising has gone completely at the moment so we went for the fundraising theme of 22 and the community has really got behind it.
"People have done all sorts to join in including donating £22, exercising 22 minutes a day and Full Circle Funerals in Guiseley even did an online quiz with 22 questions. We've had absolutely everything.
"A little boy called Danny, who is 5, also learned to ride his bike and said he'd ride 90 miles to raise money for us. He wanted to raise £90 but he raised £500.
"The community support has been fantastic
"But it all culminated with the 22 mile boundary walk on Bank Holiday Monday. "
-> Meet the inspiring 81-year-old who is playing a vital role in Leeds amid the coronavirus pandemicDebbie, Sharon, Ella and Sam embarked on their journey around Aireborough early on Monday, August 31.
They began at the clubhouse in Nunroyd Park, before heading up to The Royalty pub at Otley Chevin, down to Menston village, round the back of High Royds and up into Hawksworth Village.
They then headed to Esholt village where they paused for some food and drinks in The Woolpack car park before walking to Apperley Bridge, then Horsforth, then The Emmott Arms in Rawdon.
They then went up to Leeds Bradford Airport - stopping for a bag of chips at Murgatroyds - before making their way back to the clubhouse.
Michelle said: "It was a huge walk but they were absolutely fantastic. It was brilliant to see how steadfast they were about getting to the end of it.
"We shared updates on the walk on Facebook throughout the day and the support was outstanding. We raised £400 just on Facebook.
"People came out of one of the pubs towards the end and clapped and cheered us.
"The Red Lion pub in Guiseley also had the celebratory prosecco out waiting for us too.
"The support has been incredible."
It has been hard for staff at the Yeadon-based ASVED as a key part of the charity is bringing people together to combat loneliness and social isolation, which they have been unable to do during the pandemic.
In the meantime, the workers have been trying to keep everyone connected digitally by sending out monthly newsletters, hosting quizzes and providing a little library service.
They have also been picking up and delivering shopping and prescriptions for anyone who needs help.
Michelle said: "We want to make sure that anybody who is feeling isolated. or is on their own, that we are here to support them.
"If anyone has any neighbours who they think might be in that situation please contact us.
"We are trying to have something for everybody to get involved with, whether its digital or walking groups, we are trying to adapt our services.
"We are always here and appreciate all the donations we get."
She added: "It's been really overwhelming what we've been able to achieve.
"Everybody has just chipped in and shared the message on Facebook, even if they can't contribute.
"It's amazing that we are thought of that way. We set a target of £2,222 and so far we've raised £5,300.
"We didn't expect such an amazing response, especially with so many people struggling financially at the moment, so we are just totally overwhelmed and grateful."
You can donate to ASVED on the website www.avsed.org.uk******************
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