Local businesses row to Canada (sort of) in charity Row-a-Fun raising over £13,000

Soma Leo Row-a-Fun

Local businesses took part in an Oarsome workplace challenge during May to raise funds for The Soma Leo Foundation. The Soma Leo Row-a-Fun ran throughout May, and nine teams from six companies in Ipswich and Colchester rowed-it-out to see who could travel the farthest distance (on rowing machines), while raising funds for the charity.

Teams from AXA, Concertus, Hiscox, MHA Larking Gowen, Prettys and Pound Gates rowed consistently over the month and also took part in gruelling weekly challenges, including a 1km sprint, the fastest to row the distance of The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race (6.8 km) and rowing in fancy dress. Overall, the nine teams rowed over 4,000 km; equivalent to rowing from the port of Felixstowe to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. The winning team (of 10 people), The A Team from Pound Gates, collectively rowed over 1 million metres during the challenge.

A total of £13,219.02 has been raised to date. Pound Gates donated £1,525 through its matched giving scheme, which was triggered when individuals hit certain distance and fundraising targets.

Funds raised will support The Soma Leo Foundation. Established in 2015, the charity provides education and support to disadvantaged communities in east Africa. This is achieved through the charity’s own school The Soma Leo Academy, located in Nyiera, western Kenya and by supporting other schools in nearby Osieko. It costs £168 per year to educate and provide nourishment for each of the 130 pupils at the school.

The event was organised by Pound Gates, whose directors, managers and staff are involved with the charity either as Trustees or providing all of the administrative resources the charity requires.

Commenting on the challenge, David Collins, Client Services Director at Pound Gates and Trustee for The Soma Leo Foundation said: “We are absolutely blown away by the enthusiasm of everyone who took part, and the funds we were able to raise, almost doubling our original fundraising target of £7,000. We would like to thank everyone who participated and the companies, friends and families who supported the rowers with their generous donations.”

The challenge was also supported by Suffolk’s Most Active County Partnership. Cllr James Reeder, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council commented: “Raising money for charity can be a powerful motivator for people to be active, whilst, from a business perspective, having a fit and active workforce is a powerful way of reducing absenteeism and boosting productivity. The Row-a-Fun initiative provides a good model for encouraging activity in the workplace and one that I hope other businesses will follow.”


Below is a short video covering some of the highlights from the challenge

Notes to editors:

The Soma Leo Foundation

The Soma Leo Foundation provides education and support to disadvantaged communities in east Africa. This is achieved through the charity’s own school, The Soma Leo Academy, located in Nyiera, Kenya and by supporting other schools in nearby Osieko.

The Academy seeks to achieve excellence by providing safe and clean facilities, high quality teaching with an appropriate teacher to pupil ratio, a varied and interesting curriculum, and nourishment for its 130 pupils. It currently costs £14 a month to provide education and nourishment for each child.

The balance of learning and nourishment helps children immeasurably, giving them the skills needed to support themselves in future years. It’s our mission to help the children who attend the school to be healthy, independent and resilient citizens who contribute to the future development of Kenya.

You can see all of the action on Twitter @soma_leo using the hashtags #BeOarsome and #RowaFun.

Most Active County

In Suffolk, a unique partnership of local authorities, public sector bodies, the voluntary sector and private companies is working to turn the tide of inactivity.

Led by Public Health at Suffolk County Council it focuses on bringing added value to the good work that many organisations across the county do to engage people in physical activity.

Branded ‘Most Active County’, the partnership was established in February 2012 as Suffolk’s key legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since then it has helped drive an increase in physical activity levels whilst also securing significant economic benefits for the county.

For more information visit: https://mostactivecounty.com