A community of young swimmers from Richmond Dale Amateur Swimming Club have banded together to raise an incredible £1150 for the Ukrainian relief effort in just 24 hours.
The club, which has 130 members between the ages of 7 and 60 and boasts both Masters and Para squads, serves a wide rural geographic area across the Yorkshire Dales. Based out of Richmond and Catterick pools, the club has a long tradition of fundraising to ensure the survival of the club. However, the emerging situation in Ukraine has prompted the club to raise money in support of a very different cause.
Indeed, the situation in Ukraine is particularly close to home for Richmond Dale ASC, as one of the Para Squad’s talented young stars is of Ukrainian heritage. This, along with witnessing the crisis unfold in recent days spurred the club into one of its most ambitious fundraisers to date, as Coach Keith Hall explains:
“As a club we are watching on in dismay as the crisis in Ukraine escalates. Our thoughts immediately turned to one of our brilliant young Para swimmers, whose mother is Ukrainian and who has family in the country. Then, of course, we realised just how many children, young people and families would be suffering in unimaginable circumstances over there and we knew we had to do something.”
Keith and the wider club sprang into action to find out how they could help. Understanding that the best way to show their support would be to provide critical aid including medicines, baby products, and non-perishable food items, the team launched a 24-hour flash fundraiser asking squad members to donate anything they could afford, with all the money raised going towards the purchase of essential items. As Keith explains, the responses went beyond all expectations:
“Everything happened very fast. We had a quick discussion on Saturday morning and put a call to action out to squads via email and on our social media channels the next day. We were against the clock, though, as we knew that we had to close the campaign in just 24 hours. This was so we had enough time to purchase the necessary goods and send them out with an aid convoy that was leaving locally on Tuesday. Just 24 hours after we got the message out, we had already received £1150 in donations. We were astounded.”
With the money raised, Keith and his fellow Coaches were able to purchase essential items so desperately needed by those affected by the war. The team delivered trollies filled with dried and canned foods, baby milk, personal care items and medicines to Colburn Community Hub, which has been serving as a collection point, on Monday afternoon.
Reflecting on the club’s achievement, Keith said:
“Our club might not be the biggest, but we certainly have the biggest heart. Our swimmers go the extra mile every day in the pool, so it’s no surprise that the wider Richmond and Dale ASC community went the extra mile for this campaign and the people of Ukraine. It’s team spirit like this that sets us apart and makes us the brilliant club we are. We hope that the little we have been able to do makes a difference to someone affected by the conflict.”