The idea behind Active Soul UK was dreamt up whilst I was out on a long training run to prepare for an ultra-triathlon I had designed, called ‘Bristol Brutal.’ I had wanted to do something slightly different to celebrate my 40th birthday, and thought raising lots of money for a local charity would be a fine way to celebrate! I approached some family friends that had done a lot for the local community, and lots for children that had needed extra care. They had a son called Jack, who sadly had passed away and they had used the hospice during their difficult time, so when I asked them to choose a charity, Children’s Hospice South West was their first choice. That’s where the relationship started.
Our vision for Active Soul UK is to attract like-minded people who want to achieve something. Walk, run, bike, swim. People that maybe haven’t had the confidence to take on a challenge, or could have completed a challenge, enjoyed it and want to go longer or bigger. We give advice, guidance and design structured plans to help people reach their goal, and we also have a run group that meets up every Thursday.
Active Soul UK charges a monthly membership fee, 50% of which goes straight to CHSW. The club is run by volunteers, and once running costs are taken out at the end of the year, all money raised by the group will also be donated.
This year we organised our own event called the Family Festival of Running. We had adult and children’s events, and even a toddler dash for the athletes of the future! It was a massive success and next year’s date is in the process of being confirmed.
If people are looking at doing an activity-based fundraiser for the charity, I think a good starting place would be to think of an event that takes them out of the comfort zone, and one they think will be fun. Give yourself lots of time to train and prepare for the event, and create a structured plan that helps your fitness grow steadily to reduce the risk of injury. I like to try and get other people involved, as I find it easier training in a group and if I know I’m meeting someone to train with I’m less likely to miss training sessions. Active Soul UK is a great starting point for anyway needing advice on training, and we are always on hand to help.