A charity supporting about 21,000 Swindon carers has raised more than £2,000 from a sponsored walk with the backing of Pebley Beach.
Every year supporters of Swindon Carers put their best feet forward during Carers Week for Walk A Mile, a fundraising walk around the town – and every year motor dealer Pebley Beach pledges to match their fundraising efforts pound for pound up to £1,000.
Due to lockdown restrictions the charity was unable to hold a mass gathering this year, but instead asked supporters to walk a mile wherever they could.
Supporters took up the challenge walking indoors, in back gardens, in school playgrounds, and in parks with family members or as part of their social bubble.
Additional daily activities throughout the week, including musical performances, fancy dress, and tea parties – were all held in a socially-distanced way and shared with the community via social media.
In total, £1,040 was raised, which combined with match funding from Pebley Beach brings the total to £2,040.
Fiona Prinzi, deputy CEO of Swindon Carers, said: "The current coronavirus pandemic continues to present a huge challenge for unpaid carers of all ages in Swindon.
"Many are feeling the impact of taking on a full-time caring role for family members and friends during this time. Our staff are busy responding to an increased need for practical and emotional support as a result.
"That's why we're incredibly grateful to Pebley Beach for continuing to generously match-fund donations for Carers Week and Walk A Mile. We know this will make a real difference directly to carers lives at a vital time."
Pebley Beach managing director Dominic Threlfall said: "We're delighted to be able to support Swindon Carers again this year. Well done to everyone who helped raise so much money in extremely challenging circumstances."
During the coronavirus pandemic the number of unpaid carers has grown from 200,000 to nearly 700,000 nationally.
Locally, enquiries to Swindon Carers increased by 170 percent during the crisis. The charity has been helping carers to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic, including.Its work includes phoning carers and keeping up morale, running virtual activities ranging from craft sessions to counselling and running two new fortnightly newsletters for young and adult carers.
The charity has also been running a Swindon Schools Got Talent competition, delivering milestone birthday cakes and helping carers navigate the benefits system.