In December 2019, two of The Yard's playworkers hitchhiked from Edinburgh to Seville to raise money for The Yard and another Scottish charity. Ben, who works at our Edinburgh centre, and Owen, who works at The Yard Dundee, are friends who are passionate about finding fun ways to raise money for charity. The two playworkers travelled from Edinburgh to Seville without spending money on travel or accommodation. Here Ben tells us all about his experience.

"Hi, my name is Ben Ferguson and I am 20 years old. I am currently living in Edinburgh while studying at university, but I’m originally from Inverness and live there when university is not on. I have worked at The Yard since late July of 2019 and I’ve had an incredible experience working there so far. When I’m back up north, I work for another charity called SNAP (Special Needs Action Project), which is similar to The Yard in a lot of ways but on a much smaller scale. 2020 will be my fourth year working at SNAP.

As both The Yard and SNAP rely on fundraising, and I have some experience of fundraising for SNAP throughout my four years working there, it seemed inevitable (in my mind at least) that I was going to keep doing some fundraising but this time for both charities.

I signed up for the 2020 Edinburgh half marathon to start raising some money for the two causes, and also to challenge myself, as I have never done anything like it before. But at the end of 2019, myself and Owen (a friend of mine that also works for both charities) decided to go out-with the conventional ways to fundraise and decided to do a charity hitchhike from Scotland (Edinburgh) to the South of Spain (Seville) without spending a single penny on travel or accommodation.

We booked a flight from Seville back to Edinburgh, so we kind of had to get there within the ten-day period. Obviously, this was a massive challenge, but we managed to do it. We hitchhiked over seven days, covering 2,300 miles and received 28 different lifts to get us to Seville. It was awesome, we met some incredible people (as well as some pretty dodgy ones) and had some experiences that we’ve never had before - which was all part of the fun for us. I already had a Justgiving page set up for my half marathon, so we just directed people to that page to donate to our hitchhike. Over the seven days that we did it, we raised over £1,700. The half marathon is in May, and the Justgiving page is still open for donations for that so will hopefully gain a few more quid!

I think the thing we most enjoyed about fundraising (out-with the adventure itself) was the fact that we both knew first-hand what the money was going towards. The money will help both The Yard and SNAP fund their incredible services that so many families rely on. That was definitely the most rewarding thing for us. However, we both like to push ourselves, so we gained loads of enjoyment purely by challenging ourselves.

Overall, fundraising money for a charity just makes you feel good, gives you a sense of helping people and achievement. If you are looking for something to challenge yourself with, fundraising is a great thing that can go hand-in-hand with the challenge itself (whether that be a run, cycle, bake sale, garage sale, anything). However, fundraising isn’t just about raising money for a charity, it’s also about spreading awareness of your chosen charity and the remarkable work that the organisation does. Therefore, I would highly recommend taking part in fundraising for a cause that you believe in, that inspires you, or something that you just want to raise money for and maybe even challenge yourself while you’re at it – there really is no other feeling like it."