Coronavirus: Major event organisers launch '2.6 Challenge' to help plug sector's £4bn loss

Mass-participation event organisers have united to help the UK charity sector plug the £4bn shortfall expected as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senior figures from across the charity sector have estimated the sector will lose over £4.3bn over the next three months, as a result of cancelled or postponed fundraising events and shop closures.

In response, organisers of the biggest mass-participation sports events across the country have launched the campaign, The 2.6 Challenge, which asks the public to team up to fundraise or donate to Save the UK's Charities.

The challenge will begin on Sunday 26 April – the date when the annual London Marathon was scheduled to take place. The event raised £66.4m for charities in 2019, but was postponed due to Covid-19.

As part of the challenge, the public has been asked to 'dream up' an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to Save the UK's Charities via twopointsixchallenge.co.uk.

The challenge is open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

Suggestions include a 2.6 mile/km or 26 minute walk or run; juggling for 26 minutes; doing an exercise class for 26 minutes or doing a virtual exercise class with 26 people.

"The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,” CEO of Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO), Nick Rusling said.

"We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help Save the UK’s Charities by giving money or raising funds for the charity close to your heart.”

The campaign is being supported by the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), the Small Charities Coalition, the Office for Civil Society, Sport England, Sport Wales, Virgin Money Giving, Let's Do This and Just Giving.

“For many of the UK’s charities, the day of the London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year,” MSO co-chair, Hugh Brasher said.

“One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon was ‘to show how the family of mankind can be united’. We hope that The 2.6 Challenge, which starts on the day our 40th Race should have taken place, will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities.

" Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before. We are asking everyone to create a 2.6 Challenge of their own and raise funds or pledge a donation.”

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