Somehow it’s already October, which means we are just over nine months into supporting and raising money for our charity of the year, Gympanzees.
The Conscious team have been involved in various activities this year including Veganuary, Bristol Fives Football, The National Three Peaks Challenge and, in doing so, have raised nearly £8,000 for Gympanzees. But, to hit our target of raising £20,000 in before the end of 2023, we have been continuing our efforts over the past few months. Read on to find out more about what we’ve been getting involved in.
Volunteering at Gympanzees Pop Ups
Gympanzees are aiming to raise £2.2million to secure and build a permanent home to provide facilities to children and families seven days a week. But, until the funding is secured, they have been running smaller-scale Pop Ups which allow them to provide their facilities to families on an ad hoc basis. The Pop Ups have been designed in collaboration with therapists, specialist teachers, specialist architects, service users, RNIB, Bristol Sensory Impairment Team and others to ensure they are fully inclusive and accessible.
Whilst Gympanzees have dedicated team members and specialists, they also rely on volunteers to help run the Pop Ups. So far 22 members of the Conscious team have helped out across Gympanzees’ Easter and Summer Pop Ups, getting involved with running the cafe, checking people into sessions, showing families around and generally providing support on the day.
Personally, it was an absolute pleasure to spend the day helping at a Pop Up over the school holidays. I understood these sessions provide an incredible experience for children who may struggle in everyday situations but what I hadn’t anticipated was how invaluable it is for parents and families as well. The feedback below was provided by a parent about a member of our team and shows how much difference something as simple as a 5-minute chat can make to somebody’s week:
“(I) had a lovely chat with the lady on the left (Tracey) in the Cafe whilst my son enjoyed cake and a breather, it is likely that’s the only conversation and face I’ll see this week, bar my husband’s, until we next visit Gympanzees as getting out is extremely difficult and can leave you feeling isolated, especially over the long summer break!”
Conscious Does the Pizza Run 2022
Four of the team took part in the annual Bristol Pizza Run, running 10k and raising a total of £130 for Gympanzees. The day started with all runners together doing a warmup, some dressed as pizzas. As we discovered during the run there was no amount of warm up that could have prepared us for the hills of the course through Ashton Court. But the thought of pizza at the end was a good enough incentive.
Meg and Bryony stuck together pushing each other up the hills, whilst Benjamin and Nick stormed ahead with ease.
The team all finished at different times, but all completed the race and enjoyed the victory pizza at the end.
The four runners all agreed the course was challenging, but would happily do it all again! Since the finish of the pizza run there has been talk and rumours of taking part in the November MoRun in Cardiff (which is a lot flatter to run!)
(Image - Nick showing off his Conscious merch on his run)
66 Kettlebell Challenge
This summer, Bryony decided to take part in Gympanzees Challenge 66 by doing an incredible 6,666 kettlebell swings over the 47 days of the summer holidays.
“I started off well, hitting 1,000 swings each week, but about halfway through I hit a wall, I felt drained, my back was been aching and I struggled to motivate myself to start, telling myself I would do it at a later time that never arrived.
Luckily, I was booked to spend a day volunteering at Gympanzees summer Pop Up. In the morning session, there were a couple of children who were there for the first time. They had a great time and were beaming as they left saying they want to come again. It was heartbreaking to have to tell their parents that the next Pop Up won’t be until Easter 2023. There were also lots of families there for their third or fourth visit in the four weeks of summer for which the Pop Up runs, making the most of the facility while they can.
This was a great reminder of how important the Project Home appeal is, which aims to open a permanent centre in Bristol, the first of its kind in the UK. It will bring everything under one roof for children and young people with disabilities and their families. I managed to get back on track and, although it took me until the final day, completed all the swings."
We’re hoping to get involved in a Halloween fancy dress fundraiser for Gympanzees later this month – stay tuned on our social media for pictures. But everything else is still in the works… have an idea or want to collaborate with us on a fundraising idea? Get in touch with Maddie on email@example.com to discuss.
And watch this space… we’re sure there are lots of exciting things to come to help us reach the £20,000 mark!
If you want to support our efforts so far – thank you! – you can head to https://www.justgiving.com/team/conscious-3-peaks-challenge to donate.