The Armagh Rotary Walkathon took place over the weekend of 5-6 September 2020. Members had arranged to undertake their 10,000 steps in a way that best suited their individual circumstances. Some chose to walk 10,000 steps on either day, some did 10,000 on both days and President Ian Millar set himself a target of 50,000 over two days.
Rotarians carried out their activity in various locations – Armagh, Richhill and Moy. All participants respected 'social distancing' guidelines which meant that they had either the company of their dogs or music or the noise of traffic! They were able to undertake their contribution to the Walkathon at a time which suited them best. Although the aim had been for each person to walk 10,000 steps most people either exceeded this or did this on both days. President Ian achieved 56,000 steps. The weather was dry but bitterly cold and the minor roads on the Sunday were treacherous.
The availability of GlobalGiving, whose staff were very helpful, was an important element in the success of the project. This was the first time the Club had used an Online donation platform. Those making a contribution found the donation process straightforward and the receipt and 'thank you' arrangements were efficient and well received - with the facility to 'tailor' thank you notes in a very personal and Club related way. Taking account of Bonuses earned and the Gift Aid Recovery the project has raised just over £2800 online. At the end of March, the club held a Zoom quiz and entrants were encouraged to donate to this platform.
Four Northern Irish charities benefited from the Virtual Walkathon – Action Cancer, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, Armagh Foodbank and Community First Responders Armagh and Tyrone. Representatives from the charities have been invited to Club Zoom meetings between February and April. They have all agreed and have attended or are about to attend. They each outlined the benefit which a donation of £500 (another £200 is on its way to each charity) would bring to the organisation. For example £107 buys boots for Air Ambulance staff, £40 pays for counselling of Cancer patients, £49 pays for Defibrillator pads and £90 pays for a three-day food parcel for a family of four. Due to COVID restrictions they could receive the cheques in person but through various banking arrangements have been able to access the initial funds dispersed. Clearly all four organisations have seen a significant increase in demand for their services during the pandemic. At the same time as demand was increasing the ability to fundraise was reducing. All four charity representatives expressed their sincere appreciation via Zoom or email or both for the ongoing support from the Rotary Club of Armagh. This has led to even stronger relationships between the club and them.
The President and members of the Club very much appreciate the contribution made by so many and we can be confident that the four charities will put the funds to good use as they continue to navigate their way around the impact of the pandemic on those who use their services. In many ways they have adapted by using online fundraising methods which is a mark of their resilience.
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