News & Events

Over 3,500 take part in the ‘BAPS Charities Annual Challenge’ to raise funds for older people
Saturday 10 April 2011

More than 3,500 people across the UK took to the streets and parks from Saturday 9 April 2011 to Sunday 17 April 2011 for the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge to raise funds for older people and other worthy causes.

BAPS Charities, UK held this year’s event in conjunction with the UK’s leading charity for people in later life, Age UK (formed by the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged) as well as several smaller charities around the country. It brought together members of the community from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages – ranging from three to 97 – to walk, jog or run a distance of 10 kilometres. Over 50 participants took the more challenging option of cycling 30 kilometres around the picturesque setting of King Edward Park in north-west London.

In London, the Charities Challenge kicked off on Sunday 10 April 2011 amid glorious spring sunshine from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden – the ‘Neasden Temple’ – in the presence of distinguished guests, including Paul Farthing (Fundraising Director of Age UK) and the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Harbhajan Singh. Also present at the opening ceremony were Sarah Teather MP, Cllr Harshad Patel, Cllr Mohammed Butt, Cllr Zafar Van Kalwala, Cllr Vina Mithani, Cllr Ketan Sheth and Cllr Yogesh Telli.

In his address, Mr Farthing emphasised the importance of Age UK’s partnership with BAPS Charities. He said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the partner charity for the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge, and this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet! Ensuring that older people can make the most of life lies at the heart of Age UK’s work, and it’s wonderful to see so many people today going the extra mile to support people in later life.”

Kamlesh Patel, lead BAPS Charities volunteer, added, “We are delighted to be working with Age UK. Older people are such a valuable part of our society, but are sadly so often forgotten and neglected. We hope that this has helped raise some awareness and vital funds for them.”

Mayor Harbhajan Singh also addressed the opening ceremony and said, “I am grateful that BAPS Charities have included my charities along with Age UK.”

Sarah Teather added a few words to conclude the opening ceremony. “I always find it really inspirational to see every generation take part, from the eldest – it is amazing that a man of 97 is about to do a 10k walk – and I understand some of the smallest children are going to be walking around the Temple. It is fantastic that this place will bring all generations together to better Brent and society as a whole. Thank you for everything you do to make Brent a better place”.

One of the participants, Nisha, aged 17 from South London, spoke of how valuable her day had been. She said, “It was a fantastic day out – fun, healthy, and extremely gratifying with the knowledge that we’re bringing joy and meaning to the lives of so many older people.”

The BAPS Charities Annual Challenge was completed in a total of 16 centres around the UK, many supporting charities at the local level as well. These included: Ashton-Under-Lyne, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Havant, Leicester, Loughborough, Luton, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Preston, Southend-on-Sea, and Wellingborough. The local charities supported through events at these centres included:

Ashton-under-Lyne: The Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund

Birmingham: The Macmillan Cancer Fund

Coventry: The Extracare Charitable Trust

Edinburgh: The Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

Glasgow: The Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association

Havant: Naomi House

Leicester: The Leicestershire and Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering (LOROS)

Loughborough: The Mayor’s Appeal 2010/11

Milton Keynes: The Milton Keynes Community Cardiac Group

Nottingham: The Indian Community Centre Association

Preston: Space: The Multi Sensory Centre

Wellingborough: The Pravasi Mandal

To read a report about the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge on the Age UK site, please click here.

To learn more about Age UK and their work for the elderly, please click here.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.