November 23, 2020

UK charity Astriid triples its fundraising target with virtual challenge

An army of global supporters swam, cycled, walked, and ran the distance from London Bridge to the Eiffel Tower in Paris to raise over £75,000 for UK charity Astriid.

The 52 teams, which included people from across the UK, Europe, North America, South America and Asia, covered an individual distance of 196 miles in five days, to help Astriid smash its £25,000 target by 200%.

Astriid supports people with long-term health issues and their caregivers to find meaningful work, through its dynamic professional matchmaking platform.

“We were blown away not only by the amount raised, but also by the excitement and buzz generated by our virtual London to Paris event. It has really shone a spotlight on the charity and this much-needed money will be used to support our over 1,000 candidates throughout the whole journey to finding meaningful employment. From reviewing their CV and preparing for interviews to identifying the right opportunities and connecting them with employers,” says Steve Shutts, CEO of Astriid.

“For those living with a long-term health condition, employment is about more than just wages. Working can provide routine, normality and promote a positive mental attitude – as well as helping employers address the skills gap by providing them with highly skilled professionals”, adds Steve.

Joining the virtual event was Jill Sanger-Smith, a success director at global cloud-based software company Salesforce. As part of the ‘Swedish Zwift Riders’, Jill and her team covered over 400km in just one day and raised over £10,000 for the cause.

“I did the London to Paris event last year and I was due to do the physical event again this year”, Jill, an avid cyclist, explains. “When COVID halted that from happening, I really wanted to be involved again, particularly as I had personal experience of how chronic illness can negatively affect a person’s worth with my dad recently being diagnosed with prostate cancer. It brought to life the vulnerability that Astriid members must feel and I know from my dad how important working and having a sense of purpose is.

“During the 400km ride, people virtually joined me on legs of the trip to show their support – I found the whole experience very emotional but rewarding. It also made me extra committed to help Astriid and the important work they do. It is an invaluable platform for supporting people, allowing them to retain their sense of pride while helping match them to jobs that fit their skills.”

Arun Sharma, event director at The Fundraising Agency (TFA), managed the event. He said: “We all thought £25k would be a tall order, so we’re ecstatic by the support received. The success of this year’s virtual event has also meant that next year we’re planning a hybrid one. Anyone who cannot make it along to the physical London to Paris ride can still participate, but from the convenience of their own location. We have already seen the first signups for next year’s event, which is now open via https://www.astriid-l2p.org/.”