On a #CharityTuesday a couple of weeks ago, SweetSpot came across @BethanElinor, a second year student at Nottingham University. Bethan is one of the many students who are getting involved in campaigns run by various Student Adventure groups: the idea is to raise money for a designated charity (in this case the Breast Cancer Campaign) and take part in an adventure along the way. For Bethan, her journey involves trekking through the Andes for up to ten hours a day for six days until they finally arrive in Machu Picchu and she’s already 1/3 of the way towards her target.
There’s been in a rise in numbers of students taking part in expeditions like this compared the the traditional gap year route and it’s potentially a much better way to see the world: gap year’s often sees young people fundraising and paying thousands of pounds to spend a year abroad only to discover that, more often than not, their hard earned cash goes to support offices in the UK rather than the country they are volunteering in. So we caught up with Bethan to get her advice and thoughts, on this kind of student charity work, and as a newbie to fundraising it’s been quite a challenge for her already:
Why are you raising money for the Breast Cancer Campaign?
They are a Charity which is very close to my own and many of my friends’ hearts. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK. Research is vital to saving lives and reducing the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis and the discovery of new and improved treatments. Fundraisers like these mean that Breast Cancer Campaign are able to support 95 world-class breast cancer research projects, worth over £15 million in 33 centres of excellence across the UK and Ireland that provide the greatest potential to benefit patients.
I struggle climbing the stairs so never in a million years would I have thought of doing something like this, but for such a great cause and experience I decided to get out of my comfort zone and do something to help others this summer!
Your campaign has been very successful, what advice would you give students who want to do a similar thing?
My advice for students would be to not underestimate how hard it is to raise money. Go on all the high street collections and supermarket bag packs that you can, get in touch with companies or your old school, get all the help that you can from your friends and family (strength in numbers), collect in nightclubs or at social events, arrange big fundraising events and just get stuck in. Aim high, the worst you can get is a no. Every penny counts!
“I won’t be able to go on the Trek if I don’t reach my target”
Did you take a gap year? Do you think that students are more inclined to do volunteer projects like this where the money goes direct to a charity rather than gap years now?
I did not take a gap year. Many of my friends took gap years and many volunteered abroad for a year. A lot of students find it appealing to do trips like these because they help worldwide charities while giving students once-in-a-lifetime opportunities at the same time. It definitely appealed to me more to do this kind of trip as I feel like I am helping others less fortunate than myself.
What happens if you don’t achieve your target of 3k? Are you still going to do the trek?
I won’t be able to go on the Trek if I don’t reach my target. I signed up for the Trek knowing that I had to raise the money. There is leniency in some circumstances but we do need to raise the money to go. There are other options like pushing the Trek to the following year which gives you a little more time and we can raise a little after the Trek if needs be but we must have raised the vast majority in order to do this.
Have you done this kind of travel before? What advice would you give someone preparing to do a similar thing?
I have never done this kind of travel before, which is why it is completely out of my comfort zone. My advice would be to make sure you prepare in plenty of time by getting all the right equipment and vaccinations. Also, make sure to train hard and get excited!
At the time of writing Bethan has raised £1,191.63 of her £3,000 target. If you support anyone this #charitytuesday make it her.