Looking after charities that support those in our communities is close to our heart at Mishon Mackay and we are delighted to be involved with The Starr Trust – an organisation that supports young people aged 10 – 18 to fulfil their potential in Art, Sport and Education with awards of up to £5,000. Here we find out a little bit more about The Starr 100 Challenge and chat to Co-Founder, Rob Starr.
What is the Starr 100 Challenge?
The Starr 100 Challenge is a ‘Take part at home’ fundraising event where all ages and abilities are invited to get active at home or in an outside space nearby to help raise funds for The Starr Trust. Whether this means cycling 100 miles on a static bike, doing 100 push ups, 100 laps of a park or 100 kart wheels – basically 100 of anything people can do safely during lockdown.
For people who aren’t familiar with The Starr Trust, can you tell us about why you founded it and who the charity supports?
I founded the Starr Trust in 2008. It was the year after I lost my father Eddie Starr to cancer, he was only just 60. His loss had a huge impact on not just me, but everyone who knew him. The reason was that he was so positive about everything and he had a way of making everyone, no matter who they were, feel like they mattered and that they could achieve anything. This message was everything to me and enabled me to always carry on and try to achieve at whatever age I was. I decided this was a message I wanted others to have, especially youngsters who were at a stage in their lives that was pivotal to them.
Whilst I had no money to set up the charity I decided it was too important not to try, so I borrowed £20,000 from the bank and simply read through local newspapers until I found stories of youngsters in the City who had an opportunity but not the financial ability or the support to carry it on. Over a year, I gave the money away in my Dad’s name and helped many youngsters fulfil their potential. Following that, and because other people had liked my message, we did some fundraising and created a pot of money that ultimately set up the Starr Trust as a registered charity and left us enough cash to help another set of youngsters. Since then, over the last 11 years, through fundraising and sponsorship we have given away over £1 million and helped over 4,000 youngsters in Greater Brighton to be the best that they can be in Sport, Art & Education.
Over the years we have provided not only financial support to these young Starrs, but also moral support and an outreach support programme to them and to their families. We champion young people in the Greater Brighton area aged 10-21 from low income backgrounds to be the very best that they can be and it is truly inspiring to see how my Dad’s message has helped so many youngsters achieve so much.
Why are you running this challenge?
Due to Covid-19, almost all of our fundraising events have been cancelled leaving us approximately £80,000 down on our estimated annual income. We really wanted to do whatever possible to try to raise some money in order to continue to support those vulnerable young people who need us now, more than ever.
Who’s taking part?
We have had some amazing support from local businesses and individuals who support us. We had a whole team of staff from IEP Financial doing different challenges from baking 100 pastries to running 100 laps of a village green! Cognitive Law in Brighton took part too. We had individuals cycling the 100 miles on static bikes including Jon Saunders, GM of Prysm Brighton, local adventurer Neil Laughton and some ever supportive members of the PT team from Virgin Active in Brighton.
As well as this, we were absolutely bowled over by some of the young people who got involved to support others. We were delighted to receive a call from Dr Guy Barwell founder of The Implant Centre in Hove, who got in touch to advise that his little boy Otto, aged 7, who has recently had major spinal surgery due to his Celebral Palsy, was determined to get involved and has cycled 100 laps of the Velodrome at Preston Park. This is a massive achievement for a little boy who has had to learn how to walk again following the surgery and had literally only had a week off stabilisers before embarking on this mammoth challenge! (Please see link to fundraising page and photos here). We were also super inspired by some of our young Starrs including Daisy who sang an incredible 100 songs live on Facebook over one weekend and Nathan, who also has Cerebral Palsy, did his bit by committing to undertake 100 miles in 10 days in his wheelchair for his personal Starr 100 Challenge. Nathan has been supported by the Starr Trust since 2014. For more information about these young Starrs and how we support them, please see here:
How much have you raised so far and what will this fundraising enable The Starr Trust to do?
Since we launched the 100StarrChallenge we have raised in excess of £19,000. We are adding this to a special crises fund award we set up since lockdown and that has given us just over £32,000 to support the young Starrs and their families who we have committed to help over the last 18 months. We have sent them each £750 as a single payment to do with as they wish. Some have gone on to buy laptop so the young Starr can join in remote learning, some have brought the young Starr sporting or exercise equipment for home and some have replaced their broken freezers in the family kitchen. We wanted to make this award something that the whole family can benefit from and also to show them that we are still here for them and that we will do all we can to support and care for them. These awards are on top of the agreed funding we already allocated before the lockdown that were specifically for the Starr to participate in sports, art or education programmes, but which are currently on hold. This crises fund is our way of supporting our Starr families when they need it the most. Very much in the spirit of my Dad’s message that everyone matters and everyone is important.