Between Christmas and New Year some hardy JCI sould kicked off our 2014 challenge to volunteer for our charity partner, SAFE@LAST. Member Neal Stirk shares his experience....
On the 27 December buzzing from the food coma that is Christmas myself, Ilona, Mark, Ashleigh, Gareth, Ryan and James braved the cold and windy weather to help Safe@last at Barnsley RUFC. They were holding a Yorkshire Legends XV v South Yorkshire Invitation XV match to raise money and awareness.
It looked like a very competitive game (from the perspective of someone who doesn't understand rugby!). Embarrassingly I spent the first 10 minutes trying to work out whether it was Rugby Union or Rugby League but it was impressive watching professionals and ex professionals playing. The South Yorkshire Select Team Captained by Andrew Appleyard were eventual winner over John Dudley's Yorkshire Legends team.
Armed with collection buckets and the SAFE@LAST Sam Costume we made ourselves visible chatting to people who we're interested in learning more about the charity. We met some very interesting people who were touched by the work that SAFE@LAST do in the South Yorkshire area. Ashleigh at half time did a fantastic job of talking to people at half time who then gave generously. The second felt much colder than the first so cups of tea and coffee were needed to warm us all up again.
It was fantastic event which will hopefully push JCI Sheffield to work hard to help SAFE@LAST in 2014 seeing all the money raised from gate receipts and the raffle after the match. But as well as money raised it was truly touching seeing people take time over Christmas to help raise the money not just the players, but the coaches, the physios, stewards and of course the referee without which the match wouldn't be possible.
The total money raised was around £1300 which is a fantastic amount. It is truly inspiring to think that such a sum can be raised by giving a little time out of our lives to help children in desperate situations.