The Big Blind Run has been a huge challenge for us here a Homewise but, with the cause being so close to our hearts, we were determined to succeed.
We set out to cover 600 kilometres as a team, the distance from Brighton to Belfast, and amazingly ended up hitting 950 kilometres! So, we’ve covered Brighton to Berlin for our friend Bill and the team at Time to Talk Befriending!
This was thanks to the participation of every member of the Homewise family, including founders Reg and Karen Neal who walked 10K each along the Worthing seafront.
We had a few team members on holiday and absent through illness, but we refused to give up! Some staff members even did multiple parts of the challenge to help us meet our goal and push for the finish line.
Over two main events, and a few team members sharing their ‘steps’ from home, we covered over 950 kilometres as a team for Time to Talk Befriending. We had our 10K walk on along the Worthing coast on Friday 2nd November and the 10K blindfold run at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 4th November - luckily the rain held off for us over the weekend!
To get into the fundraising (and slightly competitive…!) spirit, we held the first ever Homewise Halloween day of fun(draising) a few days before the challenge, raising almost £400 through staff participation!
This included a company-wide fancy-dress competition, a Halloween bake off (and bake sale) plus a series of gruesome games, quizzes and challenges...
“As part of the event organising team, it was important for us that everyone took part in all aspects of the challenge and raising funds for Time to Talk. We wanted our company culture of teamwork and collaboration to shine through and the Halloween day certainly achieved that! There were plenty of laughs and comradery that continued through the 10K challenges and proved hot topic of conversation!” Danielle Ash, Marketing Communications Executive - Homewise
Friday morning arrived, and the sun was shining on the South Coast. We couldn’t believe our luck! Despite the chill in the air, the team were ready to take on the challenge.
We split the walkers in to two teams and they were incredible – full of high spirits and helping to motivate each other to complete the distance.
“I have been fortunate to take part in many charity events during my time at Homewise. It’s wonderful to be able to make a difference to other people’s lives, while having a lot of laughs with an amazing group of people.” Vicki Colyer, Head of Sales - Homewise
“Having never taken part in a physical charity event, I was pleased to be able to be part of a fantastic event which is supporting such an amazing cause.
It was great to be part of leading this project and working with a brilliant project team who are so passionate about the cause. I thank them for all their hard work and amazing efforts.” Mike Boyle, HR Manager - Homewise
As the sun set on Friday afternoon, the team we happily back in the warm office (with their tea and biscuits!) and sharing stories of challenges and people they met along the way.
We were still laughing and talking about the past few days on the coach up to London on Sunday. We arrived at the Olympic Park and joined the RSBC Blindfold Run.
This challenge was both physically and mentally tough. Being blindfolded, if only for a short period of time, was disorientating and caused levels of anxiety to begin with. To rely on your partner, someone who you may or may not work closely with, was tricky. Everything was so unfamiliar, but we quickly bonded, learnt to listen carefully and trusted they would guide us safely.
“It was great to spend time with colleagues out of work and I feel even more integrated into the business and the team as a result.
Running ‘blind’ was strange at first but you got used to it and learnt to rely on your partner. Trust was key to me and Charlotte (Office Manager) was looking out for me all the way round. A great sense of achievement and all for a wonderful cause.” Tony Fraser, Property Consultant - Homewise
Impact on the community
We’ve been supporting Time to Talk Befriending all year and couldn’t be happier to have achieved this for them. The money and awareness raised for the charity will change countless lives in the Worthing community, especially during the winter months.
Emily Kenward, founder and CEO of Time to Talk Befriending said that one service user told her, “I would rather go without food than without my befriender. He is more important to me than food.”
She continued to share that this person only receives a visit once a fortnight for up to an hour so “the difference this makes is significant”.
Watch our full interview with Emily as she shares a little more about the charity, the people they help and how your support will have a profound impact on the older community.
“It’s been a privilege to support this wonderful charity. They work tirelessly to provide a lifeline to the outside world for those suffering in the older community. Loneliness can be hidden from view and anything we can to do to raise awareness, and support Time to Talk, is something we’re so happy to do.
Our team has given up their time to raise money for Time to Talk and have achieved a great feat in the Big Blind Run. We feel so proud and will continue to raise awareness and vital funds for our community.” Mark Neal, Managing Director - Homewise
Support and encouragement
The support from our friends, family and the local community has been wonderful. We even had the community cheering us on and walking with us along the coast in Worthing!
The Worthing Herald published an article about the challenge and then also a follow-up piece sharing our updates and celebrating the event! You can view the online versions over on their website:
- “Homewise staff set out to raise funds to save Worthing befriending scheme”
- “Homewise staff achieve ‘great feat’ with The Big Blind Run 2018 for Time to Talk Befriending”
This has helped us raise awareness enormously and the donations continue to come in.
We’re aiming to raise £10,000 for Time to Talk Befriending. This is so they can hire a member of staff and run their befriending scheme in Worthing permanently.
We cannot achieve this for the older, lonely community without the fantastic support and encouragement from the public, so a big thank you from all at Homewise and Time to Talk to all those who have generously donated so far. A special thanks to our friends at Ward and Partners who donated £200 from their charitable fund!
You can support the charity over on our Just Giving page: justgiving.com/thebigblindrun
“I’m so proud of the team at Homewise. We’ve all come together, regardless of fitness levels and work commitments, to take on this challenge and succeed!
Each of us has been inspired by the work Time to Talk Befriending do and really want to see this launch permanently in the Worthing community. Older people, like our friend Bill, are struggling with loneliness every day. I’d hate to think where they’ll be this winter without the outreach and support Time to Talk can offer.
The support from our sponsors and well-wishers has been amazing, but we’ve still got a way to go to reach our £10,000 target. Every donation counts so please give whatever you can to support the older community this winter.” Danielle Ash, Marketing Communications Executive - Homewise
Please continue to share our story and let others know how they too can support Time to Talk Befriending this winter.