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'Balloon race' to help raise money for vulnerable families

'Balloon race' to help raise money for vulnerable families

Wednesday 01 July 2020

'Balloon race' to help raise money for vulnerable families


A local charity has organised a 'global balloon race' with a twist to raise money to support hundreds of vulnerable families on the island.

Brighter Futures’ computer-simulated Virtual Balloon Race - where everything, including weather conditions, is real, except the balloon itself - will take place online between 16 and 23 July.

Organised with the help of Ecoracing.co, the race will be the first virtual fundraising initiative for the charity.

“Due to social distancing, ‘normal’ fundraising drives are almost impossible, which has made Brighter Futures become proactive and creative to endeavour to find the much needed funds to continue our work by supporting the 150 local families that we work with at any one time,” Sharon Betts, the charity’s Community Engagement Officer, explained.

“With many fundraising events being cancelled due to covid-19, we believe a virtual balloon race to be a great way for us to run an interactive activity which we trust will prove to be really popular and fun, even in these difficult times.”

The charity hopes the event will appeal to adults, children and young people with supporters exploring virtually how far the balloon has travelled. 

They also hope it will help people and communities come together and travel the world virtually through their balloons.

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Pictured: Sharon Betts, Brighter Futures' Community Engagement Officer.

“The virtual Balloon Race is a totally internet-based platform, so there is no physical contact with charity supporters required at any point,” Ms Betts said.

The computer-simulated race will start at 09:00 on 16 July from Brighter Futures’ home at the Bridge and will conclude the following Thursday (23 July). 

The software used for the race will use current live weather data, making it as unpredictable as any ‘real’ race and just as competitive. 

Participants will have to pay £10 to buy a balloon, which they will be able to personalise by choosing not only its size, colour and shape but also the thickness of the rubber and how much virtual helium it will use. 

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Pictured: The winner of the virtual race could win £500 in cash or a half day charter for eight guests aboard ‘Royal China'.

The two balloons that ‘fly’ the furthest in the seven days of the race will win £500 in cash or a half day charter for eight guests aboard ‘Royal China’.

“Balloons for Brighter Futures will ensure that our fundraising efforts continue and hopefully offer some entertainment to those that take part during this challenging time,” Ms Betts said. 

“The families we support under ‘normal’ circumstances were already facing a range, and often a multiple of difficulties and challenges and were just about managing to cope, but, since covid-19 many clients’ situations have deteriorated further, compounded by loss of income and the enforced social isolation leading to already challenging circumstances with many relationships becoming even more pressured and deteriorating.” 

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Pictured: Brighter Futures supports up to 150 families at any one time.

It is hoped the fundraising efforts will help the charity support an ever-increasing number of local families.

“We continue to accept new referrals daily and we fully anticipate that we will receive even more referrals and an increase to our client caseload once the immediate crisis is over.

"Therefore, alternative social cohesion strategies are key and virtual fundraising has become our new best friend for it will provide an inspiring and fun way to interact with our community for our community.

“Jersey is a small island, a community almost like a large family and each and every one of us has a role to play in being part of making a difference to build our community resilience and cohesion, now more than ever.”

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