Over the course of this challenge I will be supporting sixteen different charities whose work I admire and is important to me. Eight of the charities are from the arts sector - a sector particularly badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic - and the other eight make invaluable contributions to the health and well-being of the communities in which they operate.
Whilst all the charities will be able to receive online donations for the duration of the challenge, each month I will have two different headline charities whose work I will promote through the CharityHikes Twitter and Facebook pages.
To make a donation to a charity who's work you would like to support, please click on the Support button by your chosen charity, below. This will redirect you to the charity's donation page.
|Month||Arts Charity||Non-Arts Charity|
|March||Watermill Theatre||Thames Valley Air Ambulance|
|April||Whitchurch Silk Mill||The Wildlife Trusts|
|May||Oxford Playhouse||Helen and Douglas House|
|July||Clowns Without Borders UK||FareShare|
|August||Abingdon Music Centre||Wildside Activity Centre|
|September||Berkshire Maestros||Parkinson's UK - Oxford Branch|
|October||Newbury Spring Festival||Oxford Hospitals Charity|
Abingdon Music Centre
Abingdon Music Centre is a registered charity, established over 40 years ago to give the people of Abingdon opportunities to make music, whatever their age or experience and its activities are run by a committed and enthusiastic team of music teachers, administrators and volunteers. Our carefully planned activities are delivered by qualified teachers and musicians who aim to foster a lifelong love of music in our fun and friendly groups.
Berkshire Maestros is a charitable trust providing music education opportunities to children and young people across Berkshire. Our mission statement ‘teaching music, changing lives’ is at the heart of what we do, inspiring and motivating young people to enjoy making music. Working in partnership with parents, local authorities, schools and the local community, Maestros aims to provide a high quality, comprehensive musical experience to the widest group of pupils, regardless of their background, ability or financial circumstances.
Clowns Without Borders UK
Clowns Without Borders UK support the emotional wellbeing of children living through disasters by sharing laughter and play. In disasters, the challenges of day-to-day life can be overwhelming for children. Making sure they have the freedom to play and relax is more important than ever. It helps them make sense of the world and provides comfort and respite when it is needed the most. Laughter and play are vital to the healthy emotional and psychological wellbeing of all children. That is why we share our playful performances in refugee camps and crisis zones around the world.
FareShare is the country’s only national food redistribution charity –unique in its reach and capacity to handle vast quantities of all types of food, particularly fresh, chilled and frozen products. In the year to March 2020, FareShare provided food for 57 million meals to almost 11,000 charities. We use surplus food to support vulnerable people ranging from isolated older people at community lunches to schoolchildren at breakfast and afterschool clubs, and people at advice and resource centres and homelessness shelters.
Helen and Douglas House
Helen and Douglas House provides hospice care for terminally ill babies, children and their families.
We provide medical, emotional, and practical support, helping families deal with the implications of living with a child who will die prematurely, so they can make the most of their time together.
With your support, we were able to continue to care for local terminally ill children and their families throughout the crisis last year and we will continue to do so in 2021. Like everyone else, we have had to change the way we do that.
Newbury Spring Festival
Newbury Spring Festival is a glorious fortnight of world class music in Newbury and its beautiful neighbouring villages, with up to 45 events in 18 venues, and where international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists rub shoulders with jazz legends, world music artists and the stars of tomorrow.
The Festival was founded in 1979 to provide the opportunity to promote culture in the region by creating an annual festival accessible to all. It aims to bring excellent, new and innovative work from around the world to a variety of local venues adding to the economic and cultural wellbeing of the area, and to continue to create opportunities for young people, existing and new audiences to enjoy the arts.
Oxford Hospitals Charity
Oxford Hospitals Charity helps to transform care - funding the best medical equipment, research, training and facilities for our patients and staff. Although we aren’t a huge charity, we have a big impact – and that’s because we keep things local and work very closely with our clinical colleagues to understand how we can really make a difference.
Oxford Playhouse is a theatre for everyone.
Oxford Playhouse and its Burton Taylor Studio present and produce a wide range of live performance. The programme includes the best of British and international drama, family shows, contemporary dance and music, student and amateur shows, comedy, lectures and poetry. The Playhouse produces and tours its own shows, hosts Artists in Residence and presents Playhouse Plays Out, an ongoing series of off-site events which happen at locations across the county.
Oxfordshire Mind are here to make sure anyone in Oxfordshire with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. Last year we helped over 30,000 people.
We promote good mental health through the provision of high quality services and campaigning for positive change. Our services include housing, talking therapies, benefits advice, a confidential and free information line, courses, physical activity programmes, volunteering opportunities and peer-support groups.
Parkinson's UK - Oxford Branch
Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. It can mean you can’t move. Can’t eat. Can’t remember. Can’t sleep. With support, we can slow. Can stop. Can reverse. Can cure. We can do. But we can’t do it without you.
We’re close to major breakthroughs. Funding the right research into the most promising treatments, we get closer to a cure every day.
Until then, we're here for everyone affected by Parkinson’s. Fighting for fair treatment and better services. Making everyone see its real impact.
Described as phenomenal (The Times) and devastatingly beautiful (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, renowned for its passion and precision.
Under the direction of Nigel Short, Tenebrae has twice secured the award for Best Choral Performance in the BBC Music Magazine Awards (2012 and 2016), and its recording of Fauré’s Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra was nominated for the Gramophone Awards (2013). In 2018 Music of the Spheres, Tenebrae’s album of part songs from the British Isles, received a Grammy nomination.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance
Thames Valley Air Ambulance is a charity at the frontline of saving lives. We provide emergency medical care by air and land to patients in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Our critical care paramedics and doctors are highly trained and ready for any eventuality. We bring the hospital to the patient, giving you the best chance when the worst happens. Every day, somebody in our community could be in urgent need of our service. We rely solely on the generous support of the public. Your support allows us to deliver care to the most critically ill and injured people night and day, 365 days a year.
From its beautiful riverside home on the outskirts of Newbury, The Watermill Theatre produces award-winning work that is recognised throughout the UK and abroad. We aim to present a programme of live theatre that is both inspiring and entertaining and our work on stage is complemented by an exciting education and outreach programme, which is inextricably linked to the theatre's productions. Unfortunately, in March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic forced The Watermill Theatre to close and temporarily suspend all performances, events and in-person outreach and education activities. The financial impact was colossal. Your support will help us to get The Watermill back on its feet, so we can safely bring our community back together and focus on creating uplifting and inspiring theatre for everyone to enjoy.
Whitchurch Silk Mill
Whitchurch Silk Mill, like so many important cultural and historic gems across the country, has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has rocked the world since the start of the year. In March 2020, the Mill closed its doors for three months, turning to digital means to continue its mission of educating the public in the history of the production, design, distribution and sale of silk and other textiles. Our trainee weaver did live online demonstrations of traditional hand weaving and Question and Answer sessions for our audiences, as well as making available digital resources, including ideas for teachers, tips for crafters, and family friendly fun to provide much needed relief to those people stranded in their homes.
The Wildlife Trusts
Our vision is of people close to nature, with land and seas rich in wildlife. Our mission is to bring about living landscapes, living seas and a society where nature matters.
In 25 years, wildlife, wild places and natural habitats will be abundant and thriving. They will be a significant, commonplace and everyday part of the countryside, our towns and cities, our coasts and seas. Our landscape will be full of flowers and alive with birdsong. Wherever you are, you will be able to see and hear wildlife near by, and know that even the most rare, threatened and endangered species have populations that are stable, resilient and recovering.
Wildside Activity Centre
Wildside Activity Centre is a small charity in a highly deprived neighbourhood of Wolverhampton which offers environmental activities, outdoor pursuits and narrowboat trips. Its aim is to get users outdoors and back in touch with nature. All ages, all abilities – we reconnect people with nature. Staff and volunteers work as a team with a clear picture of this mission. They are very welcoming, enthusiastic, inclusive and knowledgeable about wildlife. At the end of March 2020, the Centre had 46 volunteers in different capacities.