Deptford water sports charity launches fundraising challenge to recoup part of its Covid losses

By Rafi Mauro-Benady

A water sports-based charity is throwing a 7,500-mile rowing challenge in a bid to regain a slither of its lost income due to lockdown.

Adventure, Help and Opportunities for Youth (AHOY) provides opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk youths and is expected to lose £400,000 through the cancellation of major events.

Had there been no cancellations this year then AHOY, based in Deptford, would have had 770 people rowing a total of 7,476 miles, hence why its Rowvember campaign asks participants to donate £1 for every mile they row – or run.

The hope is that AHOY will generate £7,476, a fraction of its £400,000 loss.

The steepest challenge the charity has backed over the month is a total of 215 miles – the total length of the River Thames – across the month, over seven miles per day.

An AHOY spokesman said: “Virtual challenges have become the new norm for charities since the cancellation of mass participation events due to Covid19.

“This is an area of unchartered waters for AHOY so this makes the development of our very own #Rowvember virtual challenge even more exciting.

“We’ve been incredibly humbled by the support and kindness shown to our charity in recent months, and hope that this challenge can offer a fun and Covid-friendly way for our community to come together once again, keeping active in a safe way and helping to raise funds to support our activities by turning their miles into pounds.”

Executive assistant Rachel Masters, 49, from Kent, has been involved with AHOY for two years, and will be running 215 miles with a friend she knows from the commute into London.

She said: “I’ve been involved with AHOY since 2018, and me and some colleagues did one of their rowing challenges.”

AHOY have given us some ideas of what you can do, but they’ve also let you tailor it to what suits you or what you can actually do yourself.”

Ms Masters added that having a partner to split the miles with acts as “motivation.”

She said: “We won’t always go out running together, but there’ll be the motivation which works both ways, you know the ‘are you running today?’

“It works and it gives me the motivation I need to go out running.”

Pictured top: Shipmates from the AHOY Centre


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