Acre Foundation, The Freedom Trail

30 September 2017
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Where do we start – wow – what an amazing five days! Conquering mountain peaks, scaling cliffs, hiking through dense forest and clambering up boulders were all an aspect of our journey through the Pyrenees. While we were surrounded by breath-taking views, it did not deter from the fact that this trail had been an escape route for 33,000 people from a Nazi-occupied Europe and a challenge for us 11 Acre colleagues to raise money for the 4 amazing charities mentioned below.

In 2016, Acre raised over £12,000.00 for four key charities close to the Acre Family. We aim to beat this amount through fundraising and by organising other events.

To make a donation, please visit Acres Virgin Giving Page and keep up to date with our progress and events through our blog and social media sites.

The Challenge
The trek was a beautiful, yet demanding four day hike in the Pyrenees, which took us from France over the high mountains into Spain. Our route was one of the toughest WW2 escape routes from occupied France. The trek was arduous and steep, taking us through spectacular scenery of cirques, rocky ridges, beech forests and mountain lakes and ranged from 13-19km per day!

The Reason
We want to make a difference not only to the wider community, but to our own Acre community as well – ‘Charity begins at home’ as they say!

Josh’s Dad… died of Pancreatic Cancer, aged 42. His diagnosis was sudden and unexpected. Pancreatic Cancer is amongst the most aggressive and hardest to treat forms of cancer, with a survival rate of between 2% – 5% over the last 50 years. But there is hope! Pancreatic Cancer Action was founded by a survivor and the charity work tirelessly to support early detection and treatment, believing that a full recovery is possible.

Andy’s close friends lost their baby daughter Genevieve soon after birth. Today in the UK, 17 families will suffer the trauma of a stillbirth or neonatal death. 4Louis, a family run charity, support and help these families through the grieving process. They specialise in supplying hospitals with Cold Cots, a piece of equipment allowing parents to spend up to 72 hours with their baby after death, as well as memory boxes which help parents capture memories of their children.

Marie’s charity, MQ Mental Health are the first major charity funding much-needed scientific research to transform the lives of everyone affected by mental illness. Having been one of the 1 in 4 people affected by mental illness herself, this is a cause close to her heart. Their vision is to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented. Research into the underlying causes is hugely under-funded and prevention is as important as the cure. Marie is walking the Pyrenees to raise awareness so as society can identify the signs and help people everywhere to have the confidence to come forward sooner.

Operation Orphan is a charity chosen on behalf of everyone within Acre. Our original link is via our CEO’s school friend who 12 months ago had the idea of organising a 650 mile run throughout the UK and Sierra Leone to raise awareness much need funds to support a specific group of Ebola orphans. The Acre Foundation supported the run by providing the running kit. But Operation Orphan impacts the lives of orphans not just in Africa but across the globe, including the UK, and we want to continue our support.

Their goal is to improve the quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children in a holistic, culturally relevant and sustainable way – focused on the following ‘pillars’; sustainable development, education, healthcare, poverty relief and pyschosocial help.

The Team
The Acre team is always up for a challenge, so we decided to give them one they would never forget – something tougher than your usual corporate challenge and one that would allow us the opportunity to raise a large amount of money for a charity close to our hearts.

Eleven members of the Acre team participated from all areas of the business. Driven by a diversity of motivations, it drove us to all finish the trek and we are now excited to see the impact of all the donations.

The trekkers for this year were Andy, Georgie, Greg, Ian, Jack, Joel, Katy, Kendra, Marie, Owain and Tanith.

Additional Events
In June, we held our biggest and best event so far; Acre’s Annual Sustainable Wine Tasting event, which raised a whopping £3375, exceeding our target and last year’s achievement. Stay tuned for further events.