Hundreds of Care UK’s care home team members, residents and their relatives have come together in a nationwide fundraising programme based around cycling and fitness to raise over £41,000 for three national charities.
The centrepiece of the fundraising programme was Ride800, a gruelling 800 mile, 15 day cycling challenge from Care UK’s southern-most care home in Poole to its northern-most in Aberdeen. This ride was undertaken by Andrew Knight, chief executive of residential care, Jacqui White, marketing director, and Tony Weedon, strategic programme director. Dozens of care home colleagues also rode individual stages of the route which zig-zagged across England and Scotland to visit 26 Care UK homes.
Care UK’s chief executive for residential care Andrew Knight said: “This has been an incredibly rewarding experience, not without its physical and mental challenges. The day we cycled over the Pennines and through Yorkshire in atrocious weather stands out, as does quite a hairy couple of miles sharing the A1 with some enormous lorries as we crossed into Scotland. However, the warmth and energy from residents, colleagues and relatives has been incredible, as has the support from many of our corporate partners who have helped us raise this fantastic amount of money.”
To support the ride, teams across Care UK undertook a variety of fundraising ventures including sponsored static bike challenges, raffles, music events and cake sales to boost the final total which will be shared between the Care Workers Charity, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland.
The Ride800 team visits also gave care home residents the chance to be part of the experience on a supported bike. This bike accommodates two riders – a driver and a passenger – and was transported around the route in the support vehicle that accompanied the Ride800 team.
“One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the amount of joy that the supported bike brought to residents, relatives and colleagues,” said Jacqui White, marketing director. “Many of the residents who thought their cycling days were behind them were beaming when they came back from their ride – it was incredibly humbling and definitely inspired us on.”
Each of the homes on the route staged an event themed around the cycle ride and took part in a competition to win a supported bike, based on how well they decorated a vintage bicycle and embraced the Ride800 spirit. The effort made by the homes was such that, at the end of the ride, the judges, Andrew, Jacqui and Tony, awarded bikes to three winners:
- Chandler Court in Bromsgrove, where residents and colleagues raised over £1,800 via a series of intergenerational events with residents and children from the local Castle Nursery, all of which linked to the 26 locations on the Ride800 route
- Tor na Dee in Aberdeen, where residents and colleagues laid on an amazing finale to the ride, with a balloon arch, a piper, visiting school children, a giant cake showing the full route and commemorative Ride800 mini bottles of scotch
- The West London team, where five homes worked together to arrange a series of welcome events for the riders, ranging from a wedding to a knighthood being bestowed on Andrew Knight by one of the residents of Mountbatten Grange
The fundraising efforts were supported by a wide variety of Care UK’s partners and suppliers. In particular, five companies made significant donations which helped raise the bar on the Ride800 total: CBRE, In-line Safety, ITG, Knight Frank Healthcare, RBS and Ruggles and Jeffery
Tony Weedon, strategic programme director added: “We are hugely grateful to everyone who contributed to this initiative in so many ways. From residents who baked energy bars, relatives who joined in with the Ride800 events, colleagues who cycled along with us and put so much effort into fundraising, and to the companies that donated to help us reach this incredible total.”