Whilst working and parenting from home during lockdown, Taz Jobbar walks us through one of her more interesting challenges: encouraging her daughter to cycle 56km to help raise 56K for her 56-year-old school.

It’s been an interesting year for everyone so far, not least for the future generations of children who have been affected in so many unprecedented ways because of COVID-19.

It was on a Sunday evening on yet another Zoom call (this one with by far the largest number of participants), that the head teacher of my daughter’s primary school presented us parents with a challenge: due to the pandemic, the school had lost a considerable amount of income for resources and equipment. In order to continue with the high level of schooling for the coming year, they needed our help to raise £56,000 by the end of the school term. 

Added to this the social distance requirement that limited traditional fundraising events, people shielding and not being able to meet more than a few people at a time – this was no mean feat.

This was the first time the school has ever had to reach out in this way. In normal circumstances, income would have been raised from nursery top-up fees, after-school activities, hiring of school facilities, numerous parent social events and activities for the children.

The school is 56 years old, a local landmark in our small village and has always done its utmost to nurture the learning environment and support for local families.

Having recently learned how to ride a bike without stabilisers, a friend and I came up with the idea of challenging our daughters to ride 56km over their summer holidays in an effort to help raise money for this worthwhile cause.

Easy, you might think, and something an adult could do in one (or a few) cycles. Not so much for our 6-year-old girls. They were little, they had small legs and they got tired quite quickly! We had to do our best to motivate them, encouraged at least two cycles a week and promoted their cause to raise as much as we could.  

A JustGiving page was set up, with a combined target of £560.00, along with a Facebook page to record progress. We also downloaded the fitness tracking app Strava, where we recorded our rides and shared routes. Regular updates and photos were posted, and cycles recorded in our timelines to keep the message going and encourage donations.

We started off well, slowed down a bit, and then geared up again when a new, bigger bike was acquired, which helped up the ante. A continuous push on Facebook – alongside reaching out to very generous friends and family – boosted our fundraising efforts.

As we neared the end of the school holidays, we managed our final ride the day before school started, completing the 56km outside the school. We stayed true to our values and were authentic in our posts to help get the message out. The girls did us proud and raised a massive £806.25 for their school!