On your marks for the virtual Santa Dash as Alice Charity raises funds for poverty hit North Staffordshire families this Christmas

The traditional Santa Dash is off the cards this winter but North Staffordshire’s Alice Charity has unveiled a way for runners, walkers, and dashers to don the red suit, get active and raise funds for families living in poverty.

Alice is challenging everyone to help them complete Father Christmas’ 2,186-mile trek from Stoke-on-Trent to Lapland

And they’ll be delivering Santa suits to everyone who signs up to take part.

Alice Charity Grants and Fundraising Manager Josie Humphreys said: “This is a challenge that everyone can get involved in. We’re looking to attract families who started doing an hour walk during lockdown, joggers and the local running clubs, such as Newcastle (Staffordshire) Athletics Club, Trentham Running Club, Sandbach Striders and Potters Trotters.

“The event will take place over Alice’s 12 days of Christmas – 1 December to 12 December 2020

“Participants will then be asked to raise sponsorship, track mileage and gain rewards for hitting fundraising milestones at https://santadash.alicecharity.com – as soon as they start their fundraising with a donation of £10, we’ll send your Santa suit.

“We’re looking to make this a fun, mass participation event. There’ll be a lot of social media content surrounding it and we want to show off photos of people out jogging or on their treadmills wearing their Alice Charity Santa suit.”

In recent years, Alice Charity has run a Santa Dash in Hanley Park each December, but mass gatherings cannot be encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic.

Emily Petts, Family Support Director at Alice, said: “Our virtual Tour de Alice was a huge success this summer and we got tremendous support from cyclists, either riding on a home exercise bike or out on the roads.

“This time, you don’t even need a bike, so we are hoping to get hundreds of people signing up four our Virtual Santa Dash, from mums and dads with their children, to local gyms and members of the many running clubs.

“Most charities have experienced major challenges due to Covid-19 and Alice is no exception, but while the fundraising picture is tricky, the need for support keeps growing.

“The pandemic has hit vulnerable families the hardest and led to an increased need in services such as our People’s Pantry food bank in Newcastle, emotional support and practical help with home essentials.

“And no-one can possibly have missed the issue over the lack of free school meals at holiday time. It is fantastic that Marcus Rashford has raised the profile hugely on that issue, but charities such as Alice have been working to support families with meals during the holidays for several years.”

Stoke-on-Trent is the 16th most deprived area in England out of 326 districts. Over 30 per cent of the resident population – approximately 75,000 people – live in areas classified in the 10 per cent most deprived in England.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact Nigel Howle on 0776 2043436, email nigel.howle@howlecom.co.uk.

How your support helps

Alice Charity works within the communities of Stoke-On-Trent and Newcastle-Under-Lyme supporting disadvantaged, vulnerable families. COVID-19 has disproportionately and adversely impacted already disadvantaged families, so help us to support their recovery.

We support families with kindness, respect, and un-conditional love with emotional and practical support. Our Family Support team have shared experiences with the families they support which enables them to build on their experiences to help others living those experiences, a powerful combination of ‘putting their arms around’ the families supported whilst ‘driving them forward’ to develop resilience and independence as they are proof that things can be different.

See www.alicecharity.com.