By Tash Travers, RAG Chair
Reading RAG (Raising and Giving) is the student fundraising body at RUSU. They run events throughout the year, getting students involved in fundraising, charity and volunteering. From charity awareness weeks and local street collections to huge challenges abroad, Reading RAG has everything to offer!
This year, RAG is fundraising for three small local charities:
Creating Better Futures - Empowering children of Zimbabwe through education;
Trust House Reading - A support service for rape and sexual abuse victims;
Voice of the Child - Rebuilding and strengthening families after a relationship breakdown.
Jailbreak is RAG’s biggest event of the year. Students are given 36 hours to get as far away from Reading as possible – previous years have reached as far as Amsterdam and Belgium! Teams aren’t allowed to spend any money. They must use their skills of persuasion and the art of bartering to get out of the country and away from campus.
This year, we were lucky enough to be given a £250 prize from STA travel store in Reading, as well as insurance discounts and party poppers. 32 students in 13 teams set off from STA Travel on Friar Street in Reading, at 10am on March 5th. Within the hour, we had teams at Luton airport heading to Amsterdam and Morocco, as well as teams heading north – off to Scotland!
Having gained sponsorship from a local estate agents, Adams, and speaking to a few contacts, Ben, Mem & Em, (Ben Cummings, Alex Memory and Emily Lancaster) pre-planned their trip and turned up to STA on Saturday morning with suitcases packed, chilled and ready for their adventure.
After a few hours, we had several teams at Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton, trying to blag themselves some free flights. Slough & Bust (Millie Hudson& Jacob Field) managed to get flights to Amsterdam, as well as Sarah Williams and Immy Perryman, who were on a flight to Morocco within 3 hours of the set off time. 1,447 miles away, Sarah and Immy decided to just have a chilled break away, enjoying the sun, ‘cats and candles’ in North Africa.
Reading Uni Netball Club successfully managed to gain themselves some free flights – shortly to be heading to Cyprus. The girls, Maddie Ross, Ali Perry, Ellie Keswick and Sofia Antona, could be found at Matchbox on Thursday flogging doughnuts to raise money for their journey.
Based in Reading, Rebecca, Tash and Hannah were receiving tracking updates and growing jealous of the sunny Snapchat’s they were receiving. Rebecca says “if I make this weekend without booking a holiday, I’ll be very surprised”.
After having little luck blagging flights, teams resorted to the next best thing – hitch-hiking! From Dover to Portsmouth, we had students crossing the Channel heading to France and Dunkirk. Across the course of the weekend we’ve witnessed ice-skating at the Eiffel Tour, the Red Light District, Kebabs in Strasburg and Cats in Morocco. One of the teams, ‘Can we get in the back of your lorry?’ struggled to get out of the country, no matter how persistent throughout the weekend. Circling the east, Natalie Trill, Charlotte Purdue and Iram Khan still managed to raise an amazing £350, describing the weekend as 'probably the most challenging yet best experience ever.'
Still in the UK as well, ‘We Would Walk 500 Miles’ (Aaron Whitman, Chris Spargo and Katie Wylie) successfully made it to John O' Groats with 2 hours and 45 minutes to spare.
Our winning team, having travelled 3,510 miles, calm and collected in Abu Dhabi – after going in the cockpit during their flight, visiting the Al Whada Mall, Sheikh Zayed Mosque & the Sheiks Palace.
After a weekend of begging, blagging and fundraising, our 13 teams have left us absolutely speechless. Having travelled 9,500 miles, ending in 9 countries and 3 continents and currently having raised over £4,400, our teams have absolutely smashed Jailbreak 2016! See where all our teams ended up.
Keep an eye out for more of Reading RAG’s fundraising events and Jailbreak 2017 – who knows where you could be heading, all in the name of charity!
If you want to get involved with Reading RAG or think you would enjoy organising events like Jailbreak, we’re now recruiting a new committee! Applications are open till 12pm on March 18th and take two minutes to complete.
Follow RAG on Facebook.