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 Inspiring volunteers – raising awareness and vital funds for MNDA

Tuesday 17th October 2023

In the summer, a group from the business did a fantastic fundraising walk from our Head Office to Mersea Island. The challenging 60km route was no mean feat, and thanks to their efforts, with support from colleagues, family and friends, the team raised a whopping £2,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

We spoke to one of the volunteers taking part and helping raise vital money for the MNDA, Claire. Claire works at our head office, in our finance team as a business partner for fleet.

“When I saw that the business was promoting the MeaNDa, I was really intrigued. I’ve never done anything like it before, but I wanted to join it and challenge myself to walk a distance that to me seemed impossible!

The charity we were supporting is so important too, it’s such a debilitating disease and anything we can do to contribute helps, the aches and pains you suffer walking that far seem like nothing in comparison.”

How did you prepare for the big day?

“Craig did all the hard work organising and planning all the routes which was a big task! In terms of training, we did weekly 5km lunchtime walks from the office which were great to build the base fitness, a good excuse to take a break for our desks and get some fresh air and of course break in those walking boots properly! And then nearer to the day we did a series of longer walks to build up the distance further.”

There must have been highs and lows along the 60km way?

“Of course – lots of both of them! Luckily we had fantastic weather and the Essex countryside that we were walking through was absolutely beautiful – it really did showcase the best of Essex.  The group atmosphere was great, we had lots of chat and laughs, with Angela taking the role of DJ and morale booster for the last half of the walk which everyone embraced.

Whilst the great weather was a bonus, it was a bit extreme at some points and it was the heat that was really the biggest challenge for me. The sun was beating down on us all day, with very little breeze, and a constant battle to keep hydrated. The walking itself was surprisingly fine – when you have such amazing scenery and good company it’s easy for the time, and miles, to pass by.  I think that was the great thing about it being a walk though – anyone can join in.”

Have you done much volunteering or charity work before?

“I haven’t really, but I’ll definitely take part in next year’s big challenge – it would be great to get even more involved next year to support with the planning and promotion to make it bigger and better that what we achieved this year. It’s also opened up the thought of doing more voluntary work in the future as well – perhaps something in the local community such as tree planting, or park clean ups etc.

The volunteering programme run by the business is a great initiative. Giving employees up to three days a year for volunteering activities not only helps charities but it’s also important way to allow staff to showcase and support the issues that are important to them.”