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An Olympic challenge to save Loughborough-based charity

An Olympic challenge to save Loughborough-based charity

As the world gears up for the 2024 Olympics in France, a group of explorers from Leicestershire are embarking on a challenging journey of their own for charity.

They are preparing to climb Mount Olympus in Greece to support the Falcon Centre, a vital local homeless charity that is facing a severe funding cut.

The expedition, called Frozen Falcon 2024,  is scheduled to take place between March 21 and 25, and it is entirely self-funded by the participants.  Any money raised will go directly to the Falcon Support Services and Falcon Centre, which provides crucial support to around 30 young men and women in need in Pinfold Gate, Loughborough. 

The Falcon Centre has been a beacon of hope for hundreds of vulnerable men and women, providing them with essential support to get back on their feet and into their own homes.

However, the centre's future hangs in the balance after Leicestershire County Council withdrew a £210,000 contract, putting its services at risk. 

To secure the future of the Falcon Centre, the charity immediately launched a fundraising appeal to raise £200k. With the help of local businesses and other funding grants, the charity has already raised £115,000 via various fundraising activities. The latest initiative to climb the summit of Mount Olympus is supported by local businesses, which is a testament to the hard work and achievements of the last six months. Together these funds will help to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people in Charnwood and Leicestershire. 

During the last six months, Lee Hardy, the Fundraising and Communications Manager of Falcon Support Services, has spearheaded a range of initiatives to raise essential funds, which may well save the centre, and is proud to lead this expedition to make a real difference for the vulnerable people who rely on the Falcon Centre. The team of four mountaineers are determined to make a real difference. The team also includes one of the charity’s trustees Alicia Butterfield and Emma Tattersdill, Environmental Partner at Bexley Beaumont law firm as well as Adrian, one of Lee’s army friends. All are equally passionate about the cause. To help them on their way, local businesses have sponsored a flag which will feature their logos and names and this alone has already raised over £5,000. These businesses include Insurance Connections Crimzon Communications, Steven Mather Solicitors, Charnwood Accountants and Business Accountants LLP, Leonard Curtis, FNC, Aspen Technologies, Loughborough University, Stowe Family Law, Edward Hands & Lewis Solicitors, Foster Industrial, Loughborough College, Edward Hands and Lewis Solicitors and WCA Chartered Surveyors.

During the ascent, the mountaineers will face treacherous conditions on their 2,900-metre climb. They will use crampons, ice axes and ropes to haul themselves up to the top as they navigate steep ridges in snow and ice. When they reach the summit on March 23, they will fly a flag bearing the names of a dozen local businesses that have stepped in to raise vital funds for the charity. 

“For people in recovery, getting off the streets is a mountain to climb,” he said. “Our challenge pales in comparison to their daily struggles. But we are still very proud to do a challenge that will helpto raise funds that will give some of the most vulnerable people in our society the support they need to scale their own mountain while at the same time raising vital funds for those who need it most.”

Lee has done an expedition before scaling Mera Peak, the highest trekking peak in the Himalayas at 6,500 meters. Last year he and Adrian conquered a winter ascent of Mt Toubkal in Morrocco,over 4000m and the highest point of the Atlas Mountains raising funds for Falcon. He is looking forward to the challenge once again. He is excited to feel the positive emotions of reaching the summit and given the past six months of fundraising to save the centre this will be a particularly poignant moment for him when he reaches the top of the mountain. 

Lee is no stranger to expeditions as he was in the Royal Signals for many years and has been a local businessman, working for The Royal British Legion and within the defence recovery as an instructor at the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall Shropshire. He believes doing a yearly expedition for a charity he is passionate about is important for his well-being, as much as the people the funds will help, and working at the charity for the past 18 months he has seen first-hand the difference those funds will make. 

“We must stand together and show our unwavering support for the Falcon Centre. Every pound counts and every donation can make a difference to the lives of those who rely on the centre's services,” he said. “The businesses of Leicestershire have been so generous and we have been fortunate also to secure smaller grants. We thank them and continue on our march to save the Falcon Centre and secure its future. With our support, we can ensure that the Falcon Centre remains a beacon of hope for those in need, providing them with the essential support they need to get back on their feet and into their own homes.”

"We are so proud to be carrying such fantastic sponsors with us and to be able to bring about awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness."

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