Fundraising walk in jeopardy over ‘confusion’ in support promises
September 21, 2010
By Brónagh Murphy
A fundraising initiative about to be undertaken by a local student to raise money for a national children’s charity appears to be in jeopardy after he says the charity ‘failed to honour its promise’ to provide support for the event.
Simon Rodgers from Mullaghbawn has spent the last number of months actively fundraising throughout the area and beyond to raise money for the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Later this month he plans to embark on a 250-mile coastal walk from Newry to Derry, covering the distance in a series of stages with stopovers in Kilkeel, Newcastle, Ardglass, Portaferry, Millisle, Bangor, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Larne, Cushendall, Ballycastle, Giant’s Causeway, Portstewart, Benone and Limavady before the final leg into Derry city.
However the whole event has been called into question as Simon says he will not be able to embark on the challenge without practical help from the charity and has accused NSPCC of going back on promises made to him in the initial planning stages of the event.
Thanking everyone who has contributed to his fundraising efforts to date, Simon outlined the situation he now faces.
“So far in training I have clocked up over 1,000 miles over the past four months in preparation for the event, which is a 250 mile walk from Newry to Derry along the north east coastline. However, NSPCC Northern Ireland have failed to honour their commitment to provide accommodation and publicity for the event as originally promised when in the initial stages of planning the event.
“As I am currently unemployed, they assured me that they would be able to provide accommodation for me at the end of each of the 15 stages. This has left me in a very difficult situation as I am unable to afford accommodation myself and in my opinion I correctly refused to use any of the fundraising money for any other purpose than for direct contribution to NSPCC funds.
“I feel very let down and disappointed by the attitude of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland towards my efforts to make this event a success. I am now left wondering why they have refused to honour their promise to provide the vital logistical support I need to conduct this event.”
Calling on the NSPCC to offer an explanation, he added: “Perhaps they might like to take the opportunity to make public through the local press the reasons why they have taken the decision not to honour their commitments.
“I am extremely concerned now as to whether or not the event can take place at all. Concerning the amount of time and effort I have put into physically preparing myself for the event, I feel that they should be putting in a similar amount of effort to ensure the event can take place.”
In response, a spokesperson for the NSPCC refuted Simon’s claims that the charity had not offered practical help and expressed concern at the ‘confusion over accommodation’ allegedly promised.
In a statement, the charity said: “The NSPCC Northern Ireland fundraising team has supported Simon in his fundraising efforts to the best of our ability, given the resources available here in Northern Ireland. We arranged for him to visit one of our projects and introduced him to the local fundraising committee. We also designed and printed flyers to support his fundraising event, provided collection buckets and gave him support in setting up his JustGiving page. A date for a fundraising collection in Newry was also organised for him, but was then cancelled as Simon was unable to fulfil it. We were working on a release to issue to Press but this was delayed because we were waiting for Simon to give us a date for the walk to take place.
“We are concerned that there has been some confusion over accommodation – this is not something that we would normally provide and would certainly never have guaranteed. We appreciate all Simon’s efforts to fundraise for our vital services here in Northern Ireland and having done our utmost to assist Simon. We are very sorry that he is not happy with the support he has received.”