Before I tell you 'my story' behind this challenge, I'd like to tell you about how I'm planning to raise funds for my chosen charities with my colleague and co-adventurer, Megan French. We're teamed up with the Sheila McKechnie Foundation to run a Masterclass for anyone who might be interested in how news and campaigns can work together.
SMK Masterclass: 'When News and Campaigning work together'
Wednesday 6th November, 3-5pm. Donation/fee: £90
Understanding news and how it can be used to maximum effect is vital for any campaigner looking to secure a win. Not only can journalists raise awareness of your campaign but they can be extremely powerful when trying to influence change.
Kirsty Good is Head of Campaigns at MoneySavingExpert.com and Megan French is the site’s Assistant news and features editor. Together, they have worked on national, ground-breaking campaigns which have caused real change for consumers saving them thousands of pounds. They both have an extensive career in news rooms and have reported some of the biggest financial events of the past 15 years.
This fun, two-hour masterclass aims to give you some insight into the world of news, how it works and you’ll even be put through your paces as an aspiring news reporter. We will then look at the ingredients of a successful campaign and provide some useful tips on how to further your campaign by tapping into the media.
Kirsty and Megan are running this masterclass for a very special reason. They have both signed-up to a huge trekking challenge in Ecuador to raise money for the MSE Charity and The Prince’s Trust. At the end of this year, they’re planning to climb one of the largest active volcanoes in the world (5897m). The fee for this masterclass will go in its entirety to the charities and SMK is kindly offering the use of their facilities for free. For more information, please see Kirsty’s story below.
If you’re interested in attending this masterclass, please email Megan directly for full information and details of how to donate: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've got to be honest, when I signed up to the latest charity challenge at work - Avenue of the Volcanoes 2019 - I had absolutely no idea just how enormous the challenge would be.
Once I'd paid my deposit for the trip, I sat down with a coffee to read the itinerary in more detail and took a massive gulp! It seems in December, over just 12 days, I'm going to attempt to climb four huge volcanoes in Ecuador:
Pasochoa (4199m); Rucu Pichincha (4796m), Illiniza Norte (5125m) and the active volcano, Mt Cotopaxi (5897m).
My initial motivation for signing-up to the trip isn't easily explained. In my personal life, the past few years have been really tough - I've been pushed to my limits both mentally and emotionally.
At work, I changed career three years ago and my new role has been fast-paced, full-on and all-consuming. I have always prioritised my career but coupled with the events in my private life, I went into 2019 feeling like I needed a physical challenge that would force me to look after me a bit. I needed something exciting and positive to work towards.
So, the first job was to buy a pair of walking boots!
Wearing my shiny new boots, I began to walk up some hills in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. Approximately two months into my training, the mild pain I'd been suffering in my knees was growing worse and more intense. When I was forced to walk down a mountain backwards (yes, I looked ridiculous) because the knee pain was so bad, I knew it was time to see a doctor.
It turns out, I have 'wonky' knees (!!) and all of my training has been put on pause while I undergo some pretty intensive physio. But my consultant and physio have both told me they're confident I will be ready for the challenge.
Despite the set-back, I am more determined than ever to try and climb those enormous volcanoes in December. I had no idea until I was walking in Wales just how much I love being in the hills. With each walking weekend, I can feel myself healing that little bit more - slowly getting more confident and finding something other than work to occupy my mind. It's brilliant!
While this trip may end-up being life-changing for me, it's purpose is to actually change the lives of young people aged 11 to 30 year-olds. The Prince's Trust says it believes every young person should have the chance to embrace exciting opportunities. I couldn't agree more.
Despite how overwhelming my exciting opportunity seems right now, I feel so lucky to be in a position to start fundraising for The Prince's Trust and of course, the MSE Charity. I hope my colleagues and I raise enough money to give hundreds of young people their own Ecuador-style adventure one day.