Monday 16 March 2015

Sunderland's 100 Hour Challenge

The 100 Hours Challenge was launched this year, and is a challenge to groups to raise £100 in 100 hours for student mental health. Dozens of Student Minds groups, RAGs and student accommodation halls took part in the challenge, and with lots of creative money-raising ideas coming out of it, Vicky from the national Student Minds team interviewed Demi from Sunderland Thinking Ahead to see how they tackled the challenge. We hope this gives you some ideas for future fundraising efforts!

Vicky: Hi Demi, and a huge thank you for everything you’ve been up to over the past few weeks! 

Before we kick off and find out a little about what is it that you did to raise your grand total, could you tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to both volunteer for Student Minds and to take on the 100 Hours Challenge?

Demi: Hi everyone! I became involved with Student Minds when a lecturer approached me and asked if taking over an already existing mental health awareness group was something I would be interested in. I jumped at the chance as mental health awareness was something I have always been particularly passionate about. I arranged a meeting with the girl who was currently running the group and after a chat I was even more interested in getting involved. I also asked a friend, Emma, to come along too and she also really wanted to get involved. So we took over the group, gave it a little revamp and set on our way. It has now been a year and a half that I have been running this group and I am so proud of how far it has come. From what started as a small group of just me and Emma, is now a fantastic blossoming group with over 10 volunteers and is also recognised by many students on campus. 

When we heard about the 100 hours challenge we thought this was a great opportunity to have some fun and raise money for Student Minds. We have done a lot of fundraising in the past from giving up chocolate for a month to film nights which we have always enjoyed doing. I messaged the group and said there has been a challenge set by Student Minds, is anyone interested? And immediately the volunteers were really enthusiastic and giving ideas on what we could do. From this, we set up a meeting to formally plan the events. 

Vicky: We’d be really interested to hear a little about all the different events that the group has put on over the 100 Hours fundraising push.

Demi: The fundraising events we decided to run were a film night, a raffle and a bake sale. 

We decided on a film night because our last one had been very successful, lots of people had attended and it really gave our group a name on campus. Similarly, our following on the Internet also increased because of the event. Therefore, we thought the 100 hour challenge was providing us with the perfect opportunity to run another. We chose the film The Perks of being a Wallflower because we thought it was a great film that many students could relate to with it being about students and it also covers the topic of mental health which was perfect since the film night ran on University Mental Health Day. Lots of students came along and we had a fantastic night! 

For our raffle, this event took a lot of organising. Thankfully our volunteers were on the ball, especially our volunteer Myia, and managed to collect lots of raffle prizes. We managed to get donated a sweetie hamper, a bath hamper, a photography shoot, a student’s union hoodie, gift sets, sweets and jewellery. We gathered much more than we ever thought we would which made us extremely happy. People really got involved with the raffle too making it our most successful event during the 100 hours challenge. Not only did we let people buy tickets by coming to the stall but we set up an online donation page and told people that for every £1 they donated their name would be entered into the raffle. This was great because it allowed students on other campuses and ones who could not make the event join in as well – which meant more donations being collected too! 

The final event we ran was a bake sale, which was also great fun! We had run bake sales in the past including a depressed cake shop. We love baking so not only do we have fun cooking and decorating the cakes, but also it is great to engage with students and chat about our group and what we do at these events. Also, a lot of people ask us about Student Minds which is fantastic to be spreading the word about such an amazing charity too. Alongside our cake sale we had an information board with information for students on anxiety and OCD so students had the opportunity to learn and be made more aware of mental health. We always like to make our events informative but whilst keeping it fun too. So we made all our information short and decorated the cork board with little bubbles of information. Colour is really important to attract students too! And I guess the cakes helped a lot in getting people over to see what was going on… 

Overall we raised just short of £70, although we didn’t hit the target of £100 we are still extremely happy with that total. Especially as it has pushed our grand total more towards our first goal of raising £500 for Student Minds!

Vicky: That sounds like a hectic few days, a huge well done! What was the highlight for you and what ensured all the efforts contributed to the overriding success? 

Demi: I think the highlight for us was just all the fun we had. It was great to see our plans turn into actual events that students got involved with. Especially the film night, students really seemed to enjoy coming along to that and it had such a positive vibe. Seeing students enjoy our events really makes doing this so worthwhile as we are having fun whilst raising awareness of mental health. 

Did you learn anything new/realise anything you weren’t expecting? OR If you were to have a conversation with someone/a group that was thinking of taking on the challenge, what would you say? (any key things that it made you think/realise/consider. Is there anyone who really helped you through the challenge? It is time to name those really impressive people who you couldn’t have done it without) 

For any group who is thinking of taking on a similar challenge I will say it takes a lot of time to plan the events and to run them, so pick a week in your calendar which is quite empty so you have a lot of free time for organisation as things can get very hectic! Of course because Thinking Ahead has such wonderful volunteers all the work was spread out evenly so no one became overwhelmed. Teamwork is definitely the most important part of running an event like this. Without our amazing volunteers we wouldn’t be able to run such great events.

Vicky: Incredible, a massive thank you on behalf of the whole Student Minds team! 

The Student Minds team would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who took part in the 100 Hours Challenge. We're a small charity that has some very big and exciting plans in the pipeline. Your fundraising efforts will help us achieve lots of exciting things over the next years and reach more and more people who need help. Have a look at our objectives for the next three years here, and find out how to take on the 100 Hours Challenge here.

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