Bedales raises £7,341 from Syria to Steep lockdown fundraiser

Alumni, Bedales Pre-Prep, Dunannie, Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, Bedales Senior

Over 200 members of the Bedales and local community almost doubled their target to walk, run or cycle the distance from Idlib in Syria to Bedales in Steep in a week in aid of the Rural Refugee Network (RRN) and the John Badley Foundation (JBF). They reached the target of 4,066 kms by day five, clocking up over 7,000 kms by the end of the week and raised a total of £7,341 for vulnerable people (see donation website here).

72 pupils from the three Bedales Schools (Senior, Prep and Pre-prep) were joined by staff, parents, alumni, family and friends across the UK and also France, China and Kuwait. In addition to running, cycling and walking, the more intrepid travellers swam, kayaked, rowed, sailed, skateboarded, scootered, and one energetic five year old pupil even space-hoppered! There were some impressive individual achievements and acts of endurance with one 19-year old alumni clocking a 100 km cycle, four people achieving 20 km runs, and another family, including grandmother - contributing 450 kms from 27 different activities.

The plight of refugees attempting to reach UK shores has again been in the news. The RRN helps bring refugees to safety in the UK and supports them as they settle into their new communities in Hampshire. The JBF offers full bursaries to Bedales for children in challenging home or school situations. The RRN and JBF have a track record of working together to enable a transformational education for individuals fleeing civil war in Syria.

Participants in the fundraiser committed their exercise activities to the campaign, starting on Saturday 16 May, whilst keeping to Government guidance on exercise and the outdoors. The school gathered people’s contributions and published a 'totaliser' on its website showing how far had been achieved of the 4,066 km journey from Idlib to Bedales.

Donations – with the first £500 matched – are being shared equally between the RRN and JBF.

Emily Mott Duncannon, Trustee, Rural Refugee Network commented:

“Lockdown has given us a new appreciation for our homes, families, friends, healthcare, schools and food. In contrast, Syria has been ravaged by war for a decade and displaced over 11 million people, leaving families with very little. Thank you Bedales community for initiating this fundraiser that will contribute to housing, education and job training for Syrian refugees settled in Hampshire. What a fantastic way to raise important funds and to give students and families an opportunity to exercise with a purpose!”

Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales, added:

“Bedales students and staff have enjoyed working with the Rural Refugee Network over recent years to support their essential work helping refugees escape persecution and civil war. I have seen first-hand at Bedales how a secure and individualised education can benefit vulnerable children through the John Badley Foundation. This lockdown initiative has been an excellent way for people to join in, and I enjoyed clocking up some miles last week to raise funds for these two good causes.”  

Comments from donors included:

“It’s great so many of you are doing this to support those in need.”

“Incredibly impressive effort to galvanise the community under these conditions, Bedales. Bravo!”

“Lovely to have all the family motivated and active for a great cause.”

“Fantastic fundraising idea that fitted easily into our exercising week.”

“Excellent lockdown fundraising effort! Well done all!”

“This is a fantastic activity and we thoroughly enjoyed taking part and are happy to contribute.”

“A great initiative and great fun to participate. Well done to all the athletes who took part!”

“Thank you for arranging the Syria to Steep challenge. It was wonderful to be a part of and to be able to support such a great cause. I also enjoyed pushing myself to run 50k! Cheers.”

In addition to resettlement services, the RRN offers grants for education, training and employment to families and young people placed across Hampshire from Syria and other war-torn countries. More information here. Watch short video here.

The JBF offers financial support through fully funded bursaries, giving more young people a chance to benefit from the transformational opportunity a Bedales education can provide. Beneficiaries have come from areas of conflict in the world, in addition to those facing difficult personal and family circumstances in the UK. More information here

Rural Refugee Network | John Badley Foundation | SyriatoSteep donation website