My fundraising experience with Restless Development has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who signed up and completed this challenge says Tom Jones
Tom is 21 years old and studies Theatre at Brunel University in the UK. He took on the role of Challenge Leader, where he recruited and supported a team to fundraise over £12,000 for Restless Development and take on the Morocco High Atlas Mountains this summer. In this conversation, Tom talks about his fundraising adventures with Restless Development.
How did you first hear about Restless Development?
While I was running the London Landmarks Half Marathon I was feeling massively out of my depth. Just as we were running along, I noticed everyone was dressed in incredibly bright t-shirts which looked like a big rainbow of colour. I just kept picking up these black t-shirts and they were a charity I’d never heard of before – Restless Development. They kept sticking out to me throughout the race. I ran past the cheer station and was able to connect the dots and put an official name to those t-shirts I’d been seeing all over the race.
Why did you pick Restless Development over other charities?
I chose to do this immediately after my half marathon. I was looking for something to be the next challenge. When we were given the list of charities we could choose from, they were all big charities that everyone knows. And then there was Restless Development, this charity I’d only ever seen once before. It really stood out to me, so I decided to do a bit more research. I really liked the ethos of the charity and the work they did and decided to work with them.
How did you motivate and encourage others to sign up?
I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to do something like this before. I was able to draw on the experience and tell people with genuine certainty they will never do anything quite as incredible ever again. For most people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and not something to be missed.
You get this feeling of elation when you’ve finally reached the peak of this mountain that you’ve been preparing for and fundraising to get to for months. You are surrounded by a group of incredible people you’ve only known for six days, but you suddenly feel like you’ve known them your entire life. Nothing can compare to that and the words simply don’t exist to convey that emotion, so the only way to find it is to sign up and do it.
How did you fundraise?
I did a few little bake sales, they were really easy to set up and do in one day at at time. I also did a RAG night in the local union club where we did a spin off of ‘Take Me Out’. It went really well, it was very stressful because until the morning of [the event] we had barely sold any tickets but so many people showed up on the door wanting to come in and we completely sold out. We filled every space we had and it was genuinely one of the most fun nights in that club. It went really well and we managed to raise a lot of money from it. It raised about £450.
What would you say to anyone thinking about taking on a challenge but worried about the fundraising?
Just do it, you’ll figure it out. As soon as you’re in that situation, ideas do start coming to you. The pressure of it will build and you will get there. If you truly want to go, you will find a way to make it.
What was the trek like?
The build up to it was ridiculous, and being able to go felt unreal. It took a little while for it to sink in that we’d actually manage to make it happen. Doing the trek from start to finish was an absolute joy and privilege in every sense of the word. The vocabulary doesn’t exist or I simply don’t possess it to explain how incredible something like this is.
What is next for you?
I really don’t know, I’m very much a ‘wing it and see’ person. I don’t like planning ahead. I’m going to Colombia in less than a week to study Colombian culture which will be an incredible experience. But beyond that, who knows.
What does Restless Development mean to you?
It’s an incredible charity that is doing some incredible work. They’re a charity that deserves more time in the limelight but it’s not really what they’re about, it’s about actually going and helping people.