Expedition Supporters - MPs and Liveries!
Weekly Highlight: We have a Government Minister as part of the team! Amazing! 🙌
Weekly Lowlight: The arrival of snow and ice, never ideal for a road cyclist! 🥶
Next week's Blog: We continue to introduce the wider team, next week we move on to our nutritionist and two sports scientists, as they attempt to stop us endlessly eating jaffa cakes...
Dan here. As we continue our February theme of introducing expedition team members, this week we are off to the Houses of Parliament and then into the historical heart of the City of London.
It is epic having such fantastic and influential supporters, and will hopefully help us maximise the funds we are able to raise for military mental health. That's the main aim here!
Johnny Mercer MP - Ministerial support for our expedition
Hot off the press, we have a Government MP as our Ministerial champion, in the form of Johnny Mercer MP - which is basically epic!
As the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Johnny was an obvious choice in our bid to find a high-profile supporter who could assist us in fund raising and access. His portfolio includes a number of areas related to our cause including the Armed Forces Covenant (which ensures Service Personnel are not disadvantaged by service), veterans affairs, and of course mental health. Johnny was a serviceperson for 10 years with service in Afghanistan where he saw first-hand the importance of this type of support.
An introductory Zoom call allowed us to virtually meet, and with his Forces humour and mannerisms obviously still very much intact, he was an instant fit to the team and has generously agreed to get involved and help where he can. We hope Johnny can help raise our profile through his affiliation and his network of contacts at the highest levels. The aim of this is twofold; to raise funds for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and secondly to raise awareness of the issues of mental health and remove the stigma attached to it. He has been a really active MP for service personnel and is highly passionate about this cause, so we're really excited to be working with him. Hopefully we'll be able to meet in person once permissions allow and undertake a joint event to raise some donations.
Livery Companies - City of London support
We've also continued approaching Livery companies and corporations for sponsorship. This is a tricky balance especially in the current economic climate generated by the pandemic. We appreciate that times are tough (apart from for Amazon!) for so many, including large companies, so it makes all the more difference when we get a positive response.
For those who haven't really heard much of the Livery companies, they were typically established as a guild of craftsmen some as far back as the Middle Ages! Not quite a Trade Union but similar in some ways, they originally made sure that craftsmen, ie members, were capable of producing work of a decent quality therefore protecting their own reputations and ensuring the public were getting a service or product from a qualified individual. Obviously times have moved on a bit now so whilst they often have strong links with their original trade they tend to be philanthropic organisations. Typically they will sponsor young people through education programmes or fund charity activities. They often have strong affiliations to military units too, and I have been fortunate enough to host visitors at previous air squadrons and ships I was serving on, as well as being hosted in turn.
Pascal's current unit, HMS President, is affiliated with the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers who in tandem with The Worshipful Company of Coopers have made donations totalling £1000! These funds will go directly to the RNRMC and make a huge difference to those sailors and marines affected by mental health issues.
Well, that's about it for this week - I have to try to remove a pair of seized headset cups and replace them with some spares I'm yet to pick up, then a test ride to round off the week! Oh, and walk the dog, go to the tip, tidy the house, entertain the children, take apart an old chest of drawers, put up a curtain rail...