South Yorkshire fundraiser Sarah Conway is ‘bubbling’ over with ideas to help Barnsley Hospice through the summer – and her colourful commitments have already raised hundreds of pounds.
After seeing that the charity’s Bubble Rush event had been cancelled due to coronavirus, Barnsley-based Sarah wanted to help offset the huge loss in sponsorship. She has been taking on foam and bubble-themed challenges, and trying to get the community involved too, ever since.
Her family have been sponsored for activities including bubble-gum blowing competitions, garden party games with bubble machines, a coloured foam Twister challenge, cup races and ‘hula hoop bubbles’ - to name just a few.
The Barnsley Hospice Bubble Rush raised over £16,000 last year and had been due to take place at Locke Park in July.
Since the cancellation announcement in June, 45-year-old Sarah has been planning her own fundraisers and encouraging the community to get involved too.
Barnsley-based dog grooming salon Diamond in the Ruff is offering a ‘colour splash’ service using pet-safe dye to brighten up furry friends in exchange for a donation - and Sarah’s family dogs were amongst the first to model the look.
Her sister has held a prosecco (bubbly) gathering via Zoom, with ‘ticket’ money going to the hospice, and local businesses have also taken donation tubs to help the cause.
Sarah, who lives in Mapplewell, is hoping that even more people will get behind the fundraising drive by taking on challenges in their own social ‘bubbles’, and she is waiting to hear back from local schools about getting involved.
She said: “When I saw that the Bubble Rush had been cancelled, I thought it was such a shame that all the sponsorship money would be lost, so I wanted to get the community behind the idea of a ‘virtual Bubble Rush’ instead.
For our family it’s been about anything based around bubbles, foam and colour - all the things that make the Bubble Rush such a fantastic event - and we’ve had such a laugh with it.
It’s about using your imagination and there are things that can be done by anybody, children and adults alike. Even the biggest kids will enjoy it.”
Sarah’s efforts have raised over £400 so far and she is determined to continue fundraising for the charity that has cared for her own family in their final days.
She added: “At some point in their lives I think everyone will appreciate what Barnsley Hospice does. It will either be them, or someone they know or love, who will benefit from their help. It’s such a precious charity.”
Barnsley Hospice has been losing £2300 a day since the start of the pandemic, following the cancellation of fundraising events and the temporary closure of its charity shops.
Vicky Stead, community fundraiser, said: “We are so impressed by the imaginative ways that Sarah and her community are raising money, and we are hugely grateful for their support. It’s been a really tough time for the hospice and it’s heart-warming to see people going to so much effort to help us.”
You can keep up with Sarah’s bubble-themed fundraisers, and get inspiration for your own challenges, by visiting her Facebook page.
The charity needs to raise over £2m each year to fund patient care and support for families. A further £1.6m is provided by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Last month, it launched its ‘Save Our Summer’ campaign to appeal for help following the cancellation of fundraising events and loss of trading in its shops.