Thousands of fundraising events across the UK have been cancelled due to COVID-19 with a devastating impact on charity income that means many charities are facing closure.
Karl Wilding, CEO The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), estimates that the UK charity sector will lose £4 billion in income as a result of the pandemic.
In response, the organisers of the biggest mass-participation sports events across the country have come together to create a new campaign to raise vital funds to help save the UK’s charities.
The campaign, The 2.6 Challenge, will launch on April 26 – what should have been the date of the 40th edition of the London Marathon, the world’s biggest one day annual fundraising event, which raised £66.4 million for charities in 2019.
From April 26, the public is asked to dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to Save the UK’s Charities via twopointsixchallenge.co.uk. The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.
Nick Rusling, co-chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO) and CEO of Human Race, said: “The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you. You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes.
“You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or get 26 people on a video call and do a 26 minute workout – anything you like. We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help Save the UK’s Charities by giving money or raising funds for the charity close to your heart.”
Hugh Brasher, co-chair of MSO and Event Director of London Marathon Events, added: “For many of the UK’s charities, the day of the London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year.
“One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon was ‘to show how the family of mankind can be united’. We hope that The 2.6 Challenge, which starts on the day our 40th race should have taken place, will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities.
“Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before. We are asking everyone to create a 2.6 Challenge of their own and raise funds or pledge a donation.”
The mass-participation events organisers behind The 2.6 Challenge are: Human Race, parkrun, The Great Run Company, Run 4 Wales, Grounded Events, London Landmarks, Virgin Sport, Limelight Sports, Threshold Sports, Running High and London Marathon Events. The design and website has been created by Studio Republic and the social media campaign by LiveWire Sport. Both agencies are working pro bono.
The campaign is supported by the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising, the Small Charities Coalition, the Office for Civil Society, Sport England, Sport Wales, Let’s Do This, Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving.
For more information on The 2.6 Challenge, visit twopointsixchallenge.co.uk