In this section we answer any questions you might have about how to get involved in our sponsored walk!
Q: I'd like us to have a walk in my area but I can see it all getting rather complicated. Could we do it on a simple basis?
A. Yes. The walk doesn't have to be a Grand Tour of all the places of worship in your local area. You could simplify things in one or more of the following ways:
- Plan a route which goes past a number of places of RE interest but does not necessarily go into them. You would lose out on the 'RE Trail' and relationship building aspect, but you would cut down on planning time by not having to negotiate visits.
- Plan a walk that people can start at any time of day. That way you'll lose a bit of PR impact but you'll gain flexibility and perhaps find that more people can take part.
- Plan a walk that can start after a particular event e.g. on a weekday after a meeting, when you'll have a group of people who could take part already present at the starting point and time. Alternatively it could be after a service on a Sunday morning, or at any other time.
- Plan a walk with a small (or large) group of friends who are supporters of RE and who you'd like to walk with. Decide where to go and agree to sponsor each other generously.This won't raise as much as a full scale local walk, but every contribution helps.
Q. Much as I would like to help I just haven't got time to organise a walk. Are there other things I can do instead?
A. Yes! You can offer to take part in the walk – it will encourage your local group to know there's someone who will definitely do the walk if they organise it. If you can't walk, you can encourage others to do so by offering to sponsor the first two/five/any number of people who commit to taking part.
Q: How will the money be collected?
A. The REC will set up a Virgin Giving account in January. From then on you will be able to open a fundraising page. Anyone willing to support you can go to your page and sponsor you via PayPal or with a credit or debit card. The money you raise will be paid to the REC, which guarantees to pay 50% of all money raised by each local team or group to the other charity they have chosen to support. This guide to online sponsorship will give you further information.
Q: Our team feels we don't know enough people to get 50 to take part – how can we find more?
A: Start with your families. Ask people you work with. Ask people who you meet in other contexts who might be willing to support RE e.g. in a local school, faith community, interest group. If your walk involves visiting local places of worship, ask people there. Ask people from local RE organisations e.g. the AREIAC group for your area, your local SACRE. And when you've got ten people, if each of them can find one other person to do the walk with them, you'll already have twenty.
Q: I'm not sure people will be all that keen to support the REC – they may never have heard of it and most people prefer to support charities with more immediate appeal. How can I make the case to them?
A. We all need to make the case for RE as a subject which offers something of value to all young people. In a plural world, we need to know about each others' beliefs and perspectives in order to live comfortably together. In an uncertain and fast changing world, we all need a place where we can ponder on difficult and hard hitting questions and think through our own positions, whether those are based on a religious faith or a non religious worldview. RE lessons provide this for young people.
The REC brings together a unique collection of bodies with an active interest in RE so that they can work together to make the subject as good as it can possibly be. The REC exists to champion the subject and promote better understanding of it with government, in schools and colleges, in communities of faith and belief and especially amongst young people and their parents. At its best it creates a safe space for learning and thinking about issues that don't necessarily feature in any other part of school life. RE needs to be supported, for the sake of young people and their futures, and the REC is the body which is uniquely well placed to do this – but it needs funds to carry out its work.
Q: Do we have to get police or council permission for our sponsored walk?
A: This would be necessary if you were organising a very large scale walk that was likely to disrupt traffic or cause difficulties to other pedestrians. However the kind of walks being organised for this event don't come into that category. For instance the Spitalfields walk in east London will probably involve fifty or more people, but they will be setting off in small groups at different times of day and will not be causing any hold ups or inconvenience to the general public. The REC events will be small scale, informal, they won't involve children (unless taking part with their parents) and they won't involve going over private land, so the requirements which might apply to large events won't be an issue here.
Q. Some of my walkers feel it's not going to be easy to raise £100 – can they give themselves a lower target?
A. Yes, of course. Any money that anybody raises will be extremely welcome. However it may not be as difficult as people fear; some of the people who already have pages up have achieved their targets quite quickly and easily – indeed some have exceeded them even within a few days of setting up their pages. The first step is to create the fundraising page and ask anybody you think might be willing to sponsor you, even for a small amount. You might be surprised at their willingness to do so.
Q. How can we persuade fifty walkers to join in?
A. Think about each of these categories of people: family, friends, colleagues, RE teachers in local primary and secondary schools, parents of children in local schools, SACRE members, local councillors, your MP, members of local faith communities. You don't need many people in each of these categories to reach the magic fifty. Five family members? Four friends and their partners, siblings or parents? A couple of local RE advisers or consultants, with their relatives or friends? Five SACRE members? A couple of people each from two or three local churches and some more from other places of worship?
If you're organising the walk with even a couple of other people, arrange for each of you to take responsibility for contacting two or three of these possible groups and get a core contingent together. Our target is to get teams of people identified and raring to go by the end of April.
Q. I've got a few people who say they'll do the walk but I'm having difficulty getting them to open a sponsorship page because they're not very confident about putting it up online.
A. Sophie Agrotis will be glad to help you! Please email her at email@example.com and she will let you know what information she needs to help set up pages for people who might find it hard to do this themselves. It really is vital, though, that walkers do have sponsorship pages, otherwise they are unlikely to be able to raise much money.