Daisy Chain YMCA supporters

As if supporting young people with autism at Daisy Chain with healthy activities wasn’t enough – two YMCA Youth Development Officers decided to undertake a mighty fundraising challenge in their own time.

Anthony Cox and Ian Neale climbed Helvellyn in the Lake District before cycling 93 miles back across the Pennines to Daisy Chain.

The pair work for Tees Valley YMCA Motiv8+ project which focuses on delivering activity workshops promoting the theme of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’.

Anthony and Ian work with young people from a variety of different backgrounds from those with special educational needs to vulnerable young people who may be socially and economically deprived.

When Anthony spotted some information about Daisy Chain, he decided to offer their services and that led to regular sessions in school holidays. They were both delighted at the engagement from the young people at Daisy Chain who enthusiastically joined in with activities from walking to bike riding, circus skills and games culminating in an organised walk around Roseberry Topping.

Ian explains, ‘It’s about getting out and about and active but the workshops also give young people a forum to talk about lots of other issues – everything from problems with bullying and relationships to fitness and nutrition and how activity benefits the mind not just the body.’

Anthony and his wife provide respite care for a seven-year-old, non-verbal autistic child and now bring him to Daisy Chain to access activities.

Says Anthony, 28, ‘Myself and Ian were so impressed with Daisy Chain and what it offers to families, we wanted to go a step further and do a fundraising challenge to raise money. We are both keen cyclists and we wanted to do something along those lines but we combined it with the climb to make it even more challenging.’

Ian, 59, adds, ‘Daisy Chain does amazing work and we wanted to support that, raising some funds that could be spent on buying equipment for the young people that would encourage them to stay active.’ 

The pair have raised around £350 and are continuing to work with the charity to deliver workshops in school holidays. ‘It’s a lot of fun for us too,’ Ian smiles.