March 2018. A team of intrepid Arthur Rank Hospice Charity supporters will embark upon a five day, 70 kilometre trek across the world’s hottest and third largest desert, on a once in a lifetime adventure: Team ARHC’s Sahara Challenge!
Your company, your staff and colleagues can take part: build unique bonds, increase motivation through personal and shared goals, and enhance your team’s performance.
Around 18 months ago, Jen Little - who then worked for Pure Resourcing Solutions in Cambridge as a Senior Recruitment Consultant - decided to step outside of her comfort zone. Knowing that Arthur Rank Hospice Charity are required to raise £2 million annually to supplement the NHS contribution and fund additional essential services provided to those living with a life-limiting illness, Jen joined Team ARHC.
Team ARHC, is a proud team of special people, prepared and willing to take on once-in-a-lifetime challenges including everything from running to skydiving, cycling to swimming, fire-walking to trekking.
Last year 177 Team ARHC members raised a grand total of £107,397.85 by taking part in individual and team based, adrenaline-inducing challenges for Team ARHC.
In March 2016, a group of eight raised £22,000 as they took on the Team ARHC Sahara Challenge.
On 17 March 2016, Jen and seven other intrepid Team ARHC members flew to Marakesh, traversed the Atlas Mountains and set out on the gruelling desert-trek.
Together they coped with temperatures that soared to 40 degrees celsius in the heat of the day and dropped to freezing lows of 0 at night; dealt with having no running water and only make-shift toilets; and experienced a magical Berber way of life including everything from shifting sand dunes (and storms!), caravans of camels and sleeping under the stars.
Jen tells us more about her unique experience and why she would recommend such a personally challenging adventure to individuals and teams of colleagues alike.
It’s quite a daunting challenge - why did you decide to take part?
“I have supported the charity for a number of years and Arthur Rank is very close to my heart. My best friend (who has recently passed away) found out she had brain cancer at the time the challenge was mentioned and I wanted to do something positive to help others.”
How did you mentally and physically prepare?
“After signing up, I joined a boot camp which was an intensive eight week course to kick start my physical training. It was classes three days a week and I had one to one support from my trainer. I later did gym classes five times a week, made sure I did plenty of walking at the weekends and was regularly seen at the gym with my desert boots on, walking up inclines on the treadmill! It was brilliant to also have the support of my hubby and son who also joined me on the walks.
"Mental preparation was more difficult and I ended up reading a lot online of people who had done similar challenges; there is a lot of info and video on YouTube for this!”
What was the highlight of the trip?
“Getting up early every morning and watching the sun rise over the sand dunes - such an incredible sight. It was also amazing in terms of a bonding experience with my fellow Team ARHC members – I know I will have friends for life. “
What three things did you learn about yourself, which you wouldn’t have known before?
“That I am stronger than I ever thought! I went down with bronchitis shortly before the trip and wasn’t prepared to let that get in my way! I realised how determined I can be when striving for one goal and also how few belongings you need.”
What motivated you to keep going through the tougher moments?
“Knowing that the money I raised would really make a real difference to the people the charity cares for and not being prepared to give up. Every day was a new adventure and I wanted to experience all of it. “
What three tips would you give to future trekkers?
“Get good boots and make sure you wear them in. Be prepared for blisters at the beginning of training. (Having a pedicure after the event is even more deserved!). Take baby wipes and prepare to get a bit grubby. Have fun, take loads of photos and make memories. Life is short so do something amazing with it. (I know that is more than three but hey who is counting?)”
This year, each Team ARHC member will raise £1,690. How did you go about fundraising for your challenge?
“I spoke to everyone I knew about my Sahara Challenge for the Arthur Rank Hospice and they supported me (even my fellow boot campers sponsored me). I also used social media a lot to spread the word of my JustGiving page. For birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries I asked for donations to the challenge rather than gifts and rather than sending Christmas cards I donated the money to the fund. My son even wrote about me in his school newspaper which also brought in some donations. Everyone was so kind: as they knew it was a huge challenge for me and really wanted to support me!”
What would you say to people who’re considering taking part in the Sahara Challenge in 2018, but as of yet are undecided?
“Don’t think about it too much - just sign up. You won’t regret it. I loved every minute (even the hard times) and look back with a huge amount of pride that I completed the challenge. The Sahara hasn’t finished with me yet and I will be going back. I’d repeat the adventure in a heartbeat! “
How do you think companies benefit from their staff members taking part?
“It allows staff to push themselves outside of their comfort zone, to get fit and have an amazing bonding experience when one person enters.
"I was very lucky in that the company I worked for really supported what I was doing and could see the benefits for both me personally and the company as a whole. Having a member of staff or a group of colleagues taking part in such a challenge can work wonders in terms of raising company profile and staff morale alongside funds for such a deserving cause. Pure Resourcing also kindly gave me both the time off for the challenge and a donation to kick start my fundraising.”
Find out more - and speak to Jen and other Team ARHC members who have taken on the Sahara Challenge - by coming along to the Team ARHC Sahara Challenge Information Evening on Thursday 24 November, 6pm.
Please RSVP to Amy Bidwell by Tuesday 22 November, by calling 07787 835161 or emailing email@example.com