Adventure for All – Soup’s Charity of the Year

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Here at Soup, we are passionate about supporting local charities and helping in ways that we can.

Throughout 2015, we have decided to support the charity ‘Up and Under Foundation’ through various fundraising events.

The Up and Under Foundation was set up to ensure that, wherever possible, financial restraints did not prevent any willing young person or groups of young people from experiencing all that the great outdoors can offer to broaden and enrich their life experiences. It seemed so fitting for us to support a charity that offers this opportunity.

At Soup, we all share a great love for the outdoors and adventure and we believe such experiences should be made available to all.

Our particular focus for fundraising this year will be in supporting of the Eric Swan Bursary. This bursary finances youngsters who are in financial hardship to visit the Conway Centre. Here they take part in all sorts of outdoor activities, from canoeing and kayaking to gorge scrambling and climbing. The Conway Centre claim ‘Outdoor activities like this are widely acknowledged as making a significant contribution to the development of young people. It can help develop self-esteem, communication skills, teamwork, cooperation, foster a sense of achievement and potentially a lifelong interest in a healthy activity.’

I asked Andy, the Up and Under group Managing Director, to answer a few questions regarding the charity. Here is his response:

1. Why did you start this foundation?

It is a bit cliché but I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives because I had benefitted from others who had done similarly when I was younger. Also it motivated me to make the Up and Under Group, the primary source of the charity funding, more successful. It gave me a quality reason to go to work, do a great job for our clients, look after elements of the nation’s infrastructure and improve kids life chances while we are at it.

2. Why do you feel it is important for young people to have these opportunities?

I think that adventures help you grow, they improve physical and mental ability. This type of activity helps with individual’s self-confidence and lack of this is tremendously limiting. As a society we are very aware of inclusivity in regard of race, religion or sex, but what about income. If a child is excluded from a school trip which may be pivotal in their development because they are poor that is very bad. Andy’s story “I was always the last to be picked in school yard football matches, and rightly so, I was hopeless. This didn’t do much for my self belief, or social standing. On hill walking trips with school I was a leader, I had skills, map reading, compass navigation and terrain reading, that others didn’t have, so my social positioning changed, I moved up the pecking order, gained respect, became more confident, this carried through into other areas not associated with mountains.” If kids are excluded from stuff they might miss out on the thing that will change their whole life. It happened to me, so I want to help it happen for others

3. Does it give you a rewarding sense of achievement being part of this foundation?

The reward is immense, I have sat at my desk with tears running down my face reading letters from youngsters we have supported, I have laughed until I have cried with joy helping kids around a rope course and seen breakthroughs in confidence that can’t help be inspiring. One girl taking part in coasteering for the first time admitted to be a little nervous as she couldn’t swim. Through the day her confidence grew as, encouraged by staff and friends she ventured into the sea, protected in a wet suit and buoyancy aid, eventually taking small jumps off rocks into safe pools. At the end of the day the group chose the option of a 250m swim to the beach rather than continue climbing. This non-swimming, nervous child proceeded to tow her tiring friend to the beach. There is no way back from that confidence, and the respect gained carries forward. We often get reports from teachers that withdrawn, low achieving youngsters improve their academic attainment after a trip of this type, some ask us why.

“Thank you for helping me go to the Conway Centre it is the BEST thing I have ever done” Luke Aged 10

Here, at Soup, we absolutely want to be a part of this vision and we want you to be too!

Our goal is to raise £1,500. This money would enable us to send 10 kids for a full weekend at the Conway Centre. But we don’t want to stop there, we want to send as many kids as we can to experience the great outdoors and we know that, together with your help, we can make this happen and make that a reality. We have lots of exciting plans and some rather gruelling sponsored events to come. So keep a look out to find out more and see how you can help us reach our goal!

If you want to find out more about this charity please visit their website and if you want to view the Conway Centre and all it offers visit their page here: http://www.conwaycentres.co.uk/holder/outdoor-activities/

“Young people of all ages benefit from real life ‘hands on’ experiences; when they can see, hear, touch and explore the world around them and have opportunities to experience challenge and adventure.” (Council for Learning Outside the Classroom)

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