Event of the Week: Route 66 Reunion 2


Reunion Helps Fund Charity

It’s not unusual for people to have fond memories of the pubs, clubs and bars they frequented in their youth. Well, one group of “fun club” aficionados in Swindon has decided to revisit those good times and aid charity in the process. Route 66 held their second reunion at Lava Lounge on 25th April for former employees and customers of the 1990s era mainstay.




Chris Marsland, who organised the event along with Emma Sedgwick, Daniel Saward and Mark Anderson, says the goal was simply to “reunite old friends whilst raising money for charity.” Their first reunion in September raised over £5,000, which was split between Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Brighter Futures. The April function raised around £2,000 for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.

Rainbow Trust provides support to over 25% of the estimated 6,000 families in England with a child between the ages of 0 and 18 years “with a life threatening or terminal illness.” They work 365 days a year to ensure that sick children, their parents, siblings, care givers and grandparents have all the emotional and practical support needed from the moment of the child’s diagnosis.

The trust has nine teams of family support workers around the country whose duties vary greatly based on the requirements of each individual family situation. Workers have prepared home cooked meals for families, helped children get ready for bed, set up doctor’s appointments, explained illnesses and treatment options, looked after siblings, organised family outings and provided bereavement support, face to face or by phone, any time of the day or night.

There are 53 family support workers and managers employed by Rainbow Trust and 32 volunteer support workers. Nearly 1,700 families were served during 2013/2014, and volunteers alone gave families 31,609 hours of support. During that same time period, the trust also began a neonatal programme to help families cope with the pressures and complexities of having a newborn in intensive care.

Marsland says the group used Facebook as their main promotional tool, but that the second event was harder to organise because of the site’s rules about group pages with more than 250 members. The Route 66 group page has over 700 members now, which means newsfeed promotions don’t get shared as much.

Still, the reunion was a smash hit with those looking to reconnect with old friends. On Facebook the next day, party goer Samantha Foard posted to the group page, “Why does my whole body ache? Must have been a good night!”

How do you get old friends involved in your charity efforts?

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