I saw a local news report on students who were also care leavers, they sat in their halls of residence and shared accommodation on their own, as everyone else had gone home.
Making a difference
It opened up my eyes and with time on my hands, I decided to do something.
I arranged a series of online workshops, and I was joined by creatives in Manchester and beyond.
The plan was to come together as a community and let these young people know they were not alone, and bring career advice from the art world into their homes via Zoom.
Money for good causes
I then raised money for care experienced young people to go to the theatre for the first time and for Acting for Others, as thanks to the actors, writers and dancers who had given me their time and expertise for free.
Colin the Big Issue Vendor
This gave me the bug to do more and I have done quite a bit of fundraising since, including a now annual whip round to get Colin – the First Street and Oxford Road Station Big Issue vendor to Blackpool for a mini break.
He goes this Friday by the way!
Before you come up with an idea, you do wonder if reader fatigue will set in and my big fear is that I end up with a big fat zero on the page.
The Cost of Living Crisis
Add the cost of living crisis into the equation and you are very aware that people have less to spend, and that is precisely why I set up the latest challenge; a sponsored walk over five days to raise money for people and places finding it tough to keep heads above water.
The twist is that the only walking that actually counts towards the total are brisk minutes.
Every morning I set off between 6.30 am and 7.00 am and walked for over two hours, sometimes in the pouring rain and other times in the type of sunshine that gives you Monica from Friends hair when she gets extra body from the heat.
Whilst I was walking, people from all over were kindly sponsoring me.
Family, friends, former and current students, people who loved the three community organisations I was raising money for, and strangers who had read the story penned by my editor and found that it touched a nerve.
The response was overwhelming.
500 Acts of Kindness
Due to the cost of living, I went into this with a total of £300 and by the end, I had raised £1,040 which is quite overwhelming and it is excellent news for 500 Acts of Kindness, 53two and The Hope Mill’s First Curtain campaign, as they all need these kind contributions to continue doing what they do best.
500 Acts of Kindness is deluged with nominations from members for people and places in need.
And in many cases, it is what many people consider the basics; a bed, a bus pass, a week’s shopping, some money for electricity, or pots, pans, towels and bedding.
So the £350 raised for them will top up the money they receive from members and means that they can support more people.
53two prides itself on staging new work by new writers, and one way of doing this is making the place accessible for all, regardless of income.
But concession tickets and ‘pay what you can’ tickets have to be funded.
So the £350 can be used to support this or put towards renovations to make the venue more accessible.
Hope Mill Theatre’s First Curtain Campaign
Hope Mill Theatre’s First Curtain Campaign funds children who may not have access to the theatre due to financial difficulties, and they can now attend for the 1st time.
The £350 raised for them means that 14 young people can now sit in the stalls and have their first experience at this intimate venue.
And that is magical.
If you doom scroll on your phone endlessly, it is easy to think that people are out for themselves and that they don’t care.
But a fundraiser like this one and the countless others that take place every day prove that people do care about the plight of others and that they will step in if they can.
I want to thank every single person who shared, liked or told someone about this week of sponsored walks.
And to those who kindly made contributions however small or large, you have all made a huge difference and the impact will touch the lives of so many. So thanks again.
The walks are complete the sponsor money has been sent.