Chariots of Fire 2018 supports local young people

The organisers of Chariots of Fire have selected Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) as the official charity for 2018.  Money raised will contribute to the Cambridgeshire High Sheriff’s Award Scheme, a fund managed by CCF.

Dr Andrew Harter CBE, the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire will be leading his posse to take part in the largest event of its kind in the region, on Sunday 16th September, whilst his wife Ms Lily Bacon DL will be giving chase with her team of fair Maids.  “It is an honour to be the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, and for Lily and I to support both the race and the charity,” said Dr Harter. 

The help that CCF provides through the High Sheriff Award Scheme is invaluable and makes a real difference to a large number of small charitable organisations which engage young people.  Through the generous fundraising efforts of the hundreds of teams that regularly take part in the annual race, it is hoped to extend the number of projects that receive High Sheriff Awards this year, increasing the reach and impact of the awards across the county.

A typical project that has benefitted from the High Sheriff’s Awards is a weekly Peterborough based drop-in for young people aged 16 to 24 who are leaving the care system.  Each young person’s individual needs are assessed by a team of youth support workers, and appropriate help, advice and support is offered.  The sessions, which involve preparing and cooking a meal, are a great opportunity for young people to develop independent living skills.  Young people who are engaged and enthusiastic about the project have the opportunity to become Care Leaver Ambassadors for Peterborough, helping to shape how the project is run.  Cherry Lester, responsible for running the project said, “We are determined to provide a service that is fun, effective and inspiring and therefore has a positive impact on the personal wellbeing of young people.”

Another typical beneficiary group organises intergenerational events, bringing together elderly people and young volunteers over tea and entertainment.  The volunteers are young women who have been referred because they are not in education, employment or training. Some are at risk of developing or have mental health issues, whilst most have a lack of confidence in social situations. Whatever their background, all benefit from support and work experience at events across the city.  Listening to music, creating artwork, and enjoying tea and cake are activities which bridge the generational gap and create opportunities to chat and share personal views and experiences.  This framework helps to build confidence and encourages community engagement.  One young woman was referred with such low confidence that she lacked even basic communication, yet has now gone on to gain part-time employment. 

Chariots of Fire is one of Cambridgeshire’s largest annual charity events.  Teams of six each run a 1.6-mile course in relay format around the historic heart of Cambridge and the Colleges.  Chariots of Fire is organised and managed by Hewitsons Charitable Trust.