A small team from Caremark Dartford & Gravesham walk 2,000 miles collectively in less than 4 weeks for a local autistic charity, Medway Puzzles. The team raised £2,000 for the local charity that support children and adults with autism and learning disabilities in Medway, Dartford & Gravesend. Read more to find out about Medway Puzzles and our fundraising efforts.

On Monday 25th October, 22 members of the Caremark team set out to do a 2,000 mile virtual walk around the UK to raise money for Medway Puzzles. Medway Puzzles is a local charity which helps families supporting children and adults with autism and other learning disabilities. We finally completed the walk, a few days earlier than planned, on Wednesday 17th November, and raised £2,000 for our chosen charity.

Why Medway Puzzles? 

We were keen to fundraise for a local charity and Medway Puzzles was recommended by one of our own carers, who has an autistic son. She wasn’t even aware until recently that Medway Puzzles existed when one of her friends messaged to tell her about their services. We actually learned that we have a few carers with autistic children/grandchildren so supporting this cause is close to our hearts.

Puzzles was set up in 2019 and how has around 30 volunteers who give up their time to support people of all ages. Puzzles has now become a vital support service in Medway and surrounding towns, including Dartford & Gravesend, and has an impressive membership of over 1,500 members. Medway Puzzles aims to bring families together to share experiences, meet others and spend social time with others who understand them. They have done a lot for families through lockdown, mainly through Zoom initiatives, and are now hopefully able to do more in person such as organizing Christmas parties for their members.

What was the challenge?

22 members of the Caremark team committed to walking 2,000 miles (virtually) around the country in less than 4 weeks. We counted our steps daily, plotting our weekly progress on a map, against our marked out route. The route took us from Gravesend, up the Suffolk coast to Inverness, down the West coast (via Wales) to St Ives in Cornwall and back to Gravesend with a pit stop in Brighton! It was a great team effort and even though the weather was sometimes miserable, we were motivated to complete the challenge. This was also a fantastic way for us to interact as a team, promote our well-being and lift our spirits!

What’s next?

We are so delighted that we have been able to hit our target and raise £2,000 for Medway Puzzles! In addition to the fundraising, we are hoping to build a partnership with Medway Puzzles, particularly as we start operating in Medway.

In fact on Friday 3rd December, a few volunteers from our office helped Puzzles set up for their children’s Christmas party in Fort Luton, Chatham, where just shy of 100 children attended. We were really pleased to meet the Puzzles volunteers and were so impressed by the arrangements they had made for the party and to see first-hand the excellent work they are doing within the community. The feedback following the party was great and it was so wonderful that Puzzles were able to make a difference to so many children.

 The Puzzles Leader, Paul Harper, was delighted to receive the cheque on behalf of the committee and shared his gratitude with us:

“Thank you for supporting Medway Puzzles and for coming down to help set up. You and Raspinder are excellent employers and clearly work really hard in the community. The £2000.00 was also amazing and will go a long way in supporting our disabled members….  we will meet in January to decide best what to spend it on.”

Paul has also just won the Barry Clout award 2021, recognising his outstanding contribution in the voluntary sector (Medway), a brilliant achievement for him and for Puzzles!

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