Last August Curtly Ambrosie decided to do a sponsored cycle from Croydon to Glasgow to raise money for his two week placement in Malawi. Following rivers and braving rough terrain, setting the challenge was just the first step in what became much more than a way to fundraise…
When thinking about fundraising, it can be hard to know where to start. For Curtly the idea grew from something he already enjoyed.
‘I had other ideas, like fasting, but I wanted to choose something that was related to me as I cycle to work every day.’
Settled on cycling, Curtly began to spread the word about the goliath 743km challenge. He started small, telling friends and family about the idea.
‘I was nervous and at first I felt shy about promoting the challenge to try and raise funds,’ explains Curtly. ‘I told a few people and they started posting it everywhere! Everyone was really supportive.’
Curtly found that people wanted to hear why he was doing the challenge, and the impressive length of his journey quickly gained him support.
Cycling for a Cause
As well as the personal challenge, Curtly had another reason to use pedal power. His destination country, Malawi, has been badly affected by climate change. It’s vulnerability to natural disasters is increasing as the population grows and temperatures rise. Food shortages have been brought about by floods and drought threatening local agriculture, a key part of Malawi’s economy.
‘I thought it would be a really good idea to get people talking about something that also linked with my placement. Climate change is having a huge impact in countries like Malawi where weather and natural disasters are destroying crops, livelihoods, and hope.’
Fundraising in an environmentally conscious way, meant that the cycle challenge not only raised money, it helped spark a broader conversation about climate change and its impact on vulnerable communities. Curtly had a clear and challenging message for his supporters: ‘If I can ride to Glasgow, hopefully people will see they can ride to work or school at least once a week.’
The Good, the Bad and the Bumpy
Curtly’s route was dotted with pretty views, but also accompanied by bumpy terrain and a lack of places to buy food or to rest. Despite the challenges, he met lots of people who were interested in the cause and surprised that he had travelled so far. Meeting new people gave him the opportunity to talk even more about his placement and about climate change.
‘The cycle paths weren’t really that great, but I had a lot of support which kept me going.’
The five day time limit Curtly set himself wasn’t quite enough to finish the route but he still managed an incredible 220km making it all the way to Birmingham. Even though he did not complete the ride, Curtly realised that people were more interested in his reasons for fundraising than the distance.
‘People mainly wanted to support me and the cause. My advice is don’t be scared to promote to everyone you meet!’
Looking to start your own fundraising journey? Read our top tips or visit our fundraising hub for more creative inspiration.