written by Roger Jarman
It seems just a few months ago that I was sitting in a bar with my wife, Kay, and a couple of other parents from our son’s local football team talking about how good it would be to run a charity event and how good it would feel to raise some money for some good causes.
A few years ago I was fortunate to work with Vineet Bhatnagar. I kept in touch with him long after the project had ended and had been fascinated and touched by the stories from Vineet after he had returned from his trips to Zambia, his determination to make a difference and his perseverance to build a school even though he himself had no building or project experience.
It was this selfless determination that drove me to want to do something to help, so I persuaded the other parents to support Shine. In the end we decided on an EastEnders themed football event.
We set up ourselves as the Tournament Committee and it was only when we agreed on the venue and date that the reality actually sunk in about the amount of work required to pull this off. We had a venue, a date and a theme, and the charities we were looking to support, but no idea how we were going to raise money as none of us had ever done something like this in the past.
Our fears of not having any teams take part were soon put to rest as we quickly secured enough teams and even ended up over subscribed for the tournament. Next up was marketing and advertising. We came up with fliers and went around local shops and businesses to get them to agree to put the fliers up, as well as sponsor a programme for the event. We advertised the event on a number of local websites, we had an article published in a local newspaper and contacted a local radio station to see if they could help with publicising the event.
Once we thought we had done enough to promote the event the real work began as we actually had to plan the event. The tournament schedule, the rules, the referee’s, the prizes all needed to be organised. The attractions, food and beverages, stalls all had to be thought out. What price should we charge, how many supplies would we need, who would be running these stalls and how would we lay out these stalls were all things we needed to figure out and agree on.
Having a good team (committee) was essential as we became flexible with the plans and quickly agreed on the way forward without too many disagreements (we are all still very good friends). Having both Vineet and Sian attend the event was also a big plus.
Lots of help allowed us to get set up the day before and the morning of the event, despite heavy rain which threatened to spoil the day. As it turned out one heavy downpour was the only bad weather we had on the day and after that the sun shone brilliantly for the remainder of the day. We had a lot of volunteers on the day manning the stalls and with the tournament a big success the day went off without much incident other than a few gazebos being blown over in the wind.
Overall we rated the event a big success, but we also learned a lot as this was the first time we had ever done this type of thing. After all of the expenses, we were able to donate just over £500 to Shine.
Having learned many lessons we have already started to plan for next year.