Join a virtual relay and raise money for Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline

Join in, get fit, have fun and raise money for an amazing local charity. That's the challenge being set by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and local gym, Energie Fitness.

HDAH virtual relay

Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline (HDAH) is collaborating with the council and the Hatfield gym to create an interactive and fun fundraising event that anyone can join, no matter where you are, whether in lockdown or full isolation.

You don't have to be a good runner to sign up for this 48-hour online interactive relay event, which starts on 29 May, you just need to be willing to give it a go, and promise to run for at least 20 minutes. It can be in your garden, on your daily exercise outside, in your garage, or up and down your stairs.

The event aims to provide crucial funds for HDAH at a time when other revenue streams are not possible. Recent statistics show that during the Covid-19 crisis domestic abuse is on the rise, as families are kept locked up for long periods of time together, unable to enjoy usual freedoms.

The Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline provides a confidential and anonymous FREEPHONE service for anyone affected by domestic abuse.  It has a team of well-trained volunteers who support and signpost callers to the help they need.

"Like many charities, our opportunity to fundraise has been badly affected and we have found demand for our services has increased significantly," said Chris Roach of HDAH.

"We are having to double up the number of volunteers taking calls at peak times to help ensure that people can get through to us when they need to. Sadly, we are also anticipating a further peak in demand when some of the lockdown restrictions are lifted as this may represent the first opportunity for some to actually call us. Tragically for some victims, being locked in with their abuser means they have no chance to reach out for help. The funds raised will assist us in getting our message and contact details out there for anyone in need to see and hopefully recall at the moment that they most need them."

Explaining how the event will work, Jason from Energie Gym in Hatfield said: "We will be using our Zoom platform to connect everybody who is taking part in the relay. Participants can sign up, donate and raise funds through https://hertsdomesticabusehelpline.charitycheckout.co.uk/cf/48-hour-virtual-relay-run-race.

"They will book an individual 20, 40, or 60 minute time slot during which they must take our virtual 'baton' and jog or run for their allotted time. When it comes to the end of their run they can get back on to our Zoom meeting to chat with our team and to hand over the 'baton' to the next runner. We know this event has the potential to get people involved from all over our county and beyond, as our sister club in Milton Keynes ran this event for their local charity and had over 90 runners from the local area and even from Thailand and Australia joining in."

"This event will be a fantastic way to bring our community together in support of this amazing charity," said Cllr Bernard Sarson, Executive Member for Regeneration, Economic Development and Partnerships at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. "We would encourage people to run anywhere from their back garden, to their local park or footpaths as part of their daily exercise. They might even do it inside their own home - using the stairs or garage. All we need to do is to keep the virtual relay moving throughout the entire 48 hours."

So sign up - it will do you good. Tell your friends, spread the word - if Milton Keynes can get runners in Thailand and Australia taking part, surely we in Welwyn Hatfield can rope in our overseas relatives and friends? It's a great way to stay in touch, as well as have fun and support such a great cause.