When the team at Citizens Advice Gateshead set out on the Dig Deep 2020 Fundraising Campaign in January, little did they know how far away they would be from reaching their £12,500 target by December. The team has completed sponsored quests and online quizzes, but their plans for the Great North Run, a Firewalk and Tough Mudders to raise money throughout the year fell flat.
And we all know why that happened (enter the tumbleweed ...)
But even then the staff were not deterred. Once the first lockdown ended they got started on fundraising through sponsored activities, raising just over £1,540 of the £12,500 total. Sponsored walks, weight loss challenges, and even a sponsored belly rub of one of the managers' dogs (seriously, you had to see it to believe it!) all contributed to the total.
With recent restrictions however these activities had to end, and the team is desperate now to get to their target so they have the resources they need to respond to what they know will be an unparalleled increase in expected demand in the new year.
So, the campaign has now taken a festive turn, with a final appeal for help for the charity to reach its Dig Deep 2020 fundraising target before the strike of midnight on New Year's Eve.
The charity's Dig Deep 2020 campaign is aiming to raise £12,500 to support the training and supervision of 50 new volunteers in the early part of 2021. Commercial Director, Jayne Graham MBE, said "We are determined not to be defeated despite the challenges we've faced with our fundraising this year. We're over the moon to have been awarded a grant recently towards the cost of appointing a new Volunteer Programme Lead for the charity who'll be starting with us in the new year. We now need the money to invest in training of the wonderful volunteers we'll be able to recruit, and that's where we're hoping people will dig deep to help."
"Volunteers' services come free, but to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver impartial, relevant and empowering advice and information to the standard you would rightly expect from a charity that bears the badge of Citizens Advice, rigorous training is needed. Every £1000 we raise will enable us to train four volunteers. We think that's a sound investment, as volunteers on average stay with us for 2 to 3 years so if they volunteer 1 day a week, between them those four volunteers can help to improve more than 1000 Gateshead families lives."
Alison Dunn, the Charity's Chief Executive, explains why the extra volunteers are now needed more than ever "We know how tough this year has been for everyone. Our charity has continued to respond to local people's needs through thick and thin, and although we've had to change how we work, with most of our advice now being delivered by phone, email and webchat, we are supporting more people than ever to tackle the challenges they face so families can get into a good place, to have a life well lived.
We don't honestly think a life well lived is that much for any of us to ask for, but without the right advice and information the journey is just that much harder. We've been so lucky to have had a wonderful team of volunteers who have supported us for many years, but the pandemic has made it a huge challenge for many of them to continue to volunteer, and with ever-increasing demands on our service we need funds to increase our resources so we can provide help to anyone and everyone who needs it."