Property professionals take up charity challenge

Michael Hunt

Representatives from the North West working in property were amongst 84 people helping to raise funds in the Peak District for international housing charity Habitat for Humanity.

The 84 people made up a total of 17 teams which took part in Habitat for Humanity's annual Hope Challenge last weekend, on 11-13 June, which is an outdoor event that sets a number of tasks and challenges for each participating team member.

Habitat for Humanity aims to help two billion people worldwide who live in poverty housing to have a safe, decent place to live.

Each team taking part in the Hope Challenge was challenged to raise £2,950 to help some of these families to renovate or build adequate homes.

Habitat for Humanity said the fundraising over the weekend passed all expectations, with pledges from teams totalling £70,000, of which top fundraising team Hedge Funds for Habitat UK raised £16,600.

The teams were given tasks that gave them a taste of what living in poverty housing is like and given a scenario that they were survivors of a hurricane. For instance, their first challenge of the weekend was for each team to build themselves a shelter out of materials they had to hunt and find in the surrounding area. They would then have to sleep in the shelter they had made for the entire weekend.

The following day, after surviving the night in their shelters, all teams took part in a hike around the Peak District countryside to earn points which they could exchange back at base camp for further tools and materials to improve upon their shelters and make them more comfortable for the second night.

After the second night, the teams undertook an orienteering challenge to find materials for their final task, building a community water system as one large team.

Speaking about the weekend of activity, Andy Ward, from Warrington based-Arley Homes, commented that it was "a moving experience for a more than worth while cause!"

John Yeo, from Lovell North West, added: "We had a belting weekend – hard work but really rewarding on many levels, both in terms of the personal achievement and the knowledge that we were helping a cause that is close to all our hearts; as people who work in social housing ourselves. The whole weekend was extremely well organised with some imaginative challenges, themed to tie in with Habitat for Humanity's work around the world."

Overall winners of the weekend were Hedge Funds for Habitat UK. Rob Helszajn, team leader, said: "We are thrilled to be awarded first prize in the 2010 Hope Challenge. Once again, the excellent organisation and the competitive, yet friendly spirit of the other teams made this physically and mentally demanding event a successful and enjoyable one too. The total funds raised by all 17 teams will make a significant contribution to Habitat for Humanity's work and we are proud to have done our bit."

Commendations also went to a number of other teams including corporate teams from CB Richard Ellis, GE Money Home Lending, Bovis Homes, whilst teams of friends and family also picked up prizes.

Since 1976, when the charity was formed, Habitat for Humanity said it has enabled over 300,000 families to have a home and with it a better future. The charity added that it is working in over 90 countries, and has enabled more than 1.5 million people to obtain safe, decent, affordable shelter. In 2007, Habitat for Humanity served 49,000 families which is set to rise to 100,000 a year by 2013.

Habitat for Humanity said the money raised from Hope Challenge will be used to help families in poverty housing renovate their existing home or to build a new one, with locally sourced materials and their own work, enabling them to help themselves and their communities.

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I took part in a Habitat for Humanity project last year and really enjoyed the experience, you can travel to all of their project including those in Africa and learn so much. A well organised and brilliant charity.

By past volunteer