Thank you to all our fantastic fundraisers – can you help us in 2019?

Community fundraising activities provide a vital part of Autism Berkshire’s income every year, helping us to provide the best possible services for autistic people and their families.

We would like to thank all those who supported us in 2018, whether by donating to one of our collecting tins or pushing themselves to the limit in a sponsored challenge – and hope you may be inspired to help us with fundraising in 2019.

The amazing £11,700 raised for us as Reading Buses’ 2018 Charity of the Year could not have been achieved without a series of individual and team initiatives by staff at the company.

Mike Coventry

These ranged from the sun-soaked depot Open Day in July and bus driver Darcey Harrington’s skydive the same month, which brought in £1,200 alone, to the concert staged by driver Ian Howarth and his rock covers band Giddy Aunt, netting £300, and bus drivers paying to wear Santa hats while at the wheel before Christmas.

Another daredevil skydiver who supported us was Mike Coventry, the husband of our former Bracknell support worker Gemma Coventry. Despite being afraid of heights, Mike jumped from a plane at 14,000ft and raised almost £1,600. Some of the money went towards the costs of staging a sold-out speaker event in Bracknell with Dean Beadle.

Sisters Becka and Jessica Adams

Athletic endeavours also brought in funds from sponsorship, with Katherine Mulholland, whose son Adam is autistic, completing the Barcelona and London Marathons and raising more than £400. Becka Adams, from Bracknell, whose younger sister Jessica is autistic, ran in the town’s half-marathon in May, and raised more than £800.

The Rotary Club of Reading Abbey’s annual Englefield Run in August also paid off for us, with the proceeds from the event of £3,370 helping to fund the Reading Games Club.

A team from the Bracknell adult social group and another team organised by parent Cindy Burke took part in the Newbury Inflatable 5k Run in October, taking on a series of giant inflatable obstacles to raise hundreds of pounds.

Kay Syed with her daughter Zahra

During Autism Awareness Week in March, a number of volunteers turned out to help us with tin collections at events in Reading and parent Kay Syed, from Slough, raised a fantastic £1,400 for us – after setting herself a target of £100 – in donations from family and friends and by holding a bake sale at work. Kay decided to raise money for us to thank us for our support after her daughter Zahra received an autism diagnosis in 2017.

Autism Berkshire’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Stanford-Beale, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who did something – big or small – to raise funds for us in 2018. The money is so important to us.

“Please consider helping Autism Berkshire in 2019 if you are thinking of undertaking a fundraising challenge.

“Visit our website’s Community Fundraising Page for helpful ideas and information and get in touch with the office, so we know what you are up to – we can also help with things like publicity and Autism Berkshire-branded running kit.

“There are lots of less energetic way you can help as well, such as volunteering when we need help with a collection at an event, holding a bake sale at work or having an Autism Berkshire collecting tin if you run a business.

“Or you can simply fill in a form to nominate us for the green token charity schemes at your local Waitrose and John Lewis or Asda stores – ask at their customer service desks.”

Jane added: “We aim to make every penny count, by keeping our administration costs low, so that we can spend as much of the money people raise for us as possible on delivering high-quality services.”