What is #GivingTuesday?
It is a day to celebrate and encourage giving in all its forms. It follows two well known shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as a way to balance out the consumer whirlwind of this time of year. For us, that means celebrating the amazing people that give back to the South West Coast Path (SWCP) and share ways of how you can give back to the Trail too.
We are so grateful to our 7,000 strong membership, and hundreds of committed supporters, without who our work could not carry on. Without their support the Path would not exist in the first place. We would also like to thank our dedicated volunteers who quite literally walk hundreds of miles to help keep the SWCP in great condition. And finally, we’d like to thank the millions of you who spend time on this incredible National Trail and make all our hard work worthwhile.
What’s your story?
We regularly hear from people about how the Trail has made their life better. From overcoming personal challenges, achieving things they never thought possible, meeting new friends, finding love, recovering from illness, to simply finding some peace and tranquillity in their lives. Whatever the Path gives to you, we’d love to hear your story. Simply contact us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyGivingStory and tell us why its special to you and how you’re giving back this Giving Tuesday.
How can you give back to the Trail?
Using the #GivingTuesdayPledge is an opportunity to share your commitment, so that you can help inspire others to do something to support a good cause.
If you can’t do something on the day itself, no problem, there is a way to give back to the trail every day. There are a number of ways to do this:
If you are interested in volunteering your time with us please email us at [email protected] for more information.
Scroll down to see stories from people who are already giving back to the Path that gives so much.
From the first time Daniela stepped foot on the South West Coast Path, she dreamed of walking it all.
“I felt this fascination with it. But walking more than a half mile was not possible at that time because I was extremely overweight, and hiking was not something I could do. The SWCP was always on my mind though and something told me that I was the only person standing in the way of letting this dream come true.”
Inspired by the SWCP, Daniela started walking, getting fitter and losing the weight that had been holding her back from realising her dream. In August this year, Daniela (10 stone lighter than when she had first stepped foot on the Path) reached the finish at South Haven Point.
“It was such an amazing adventure that I wrote a book about my journey. There were many English books, but none in German and I wanted to share my personal experience. I now travel all over Austria promoting the SWCP and the work of the SWCPA to give back to this amazing trail.”
Dave Pinkham from Bishopsteignton near Teignmouth is one of seven million home carers in the UK, and looks after his wife Marilyn who suffers from complex mental health issues. For the past 4 months, Dave has been walking the SWCP to raise money for two charities close to his heart: the South West Coast Path Association and Kingscare League of Friends who have provided invaluable support to both him and his wife over the past 3 years.
“My wife’s condition means that I cannot leave her for too long a period, particularly overnight, so I’ve had to get help from my daughter to allow me to do this walk. Although it’s difficult being apart from each other, we’re both seeing this as a really positive experience. It’s giving us an opportunity to give back to two organisations who, in different ways, have supported us through difficult times. I’m trying to raise £5,000 in total, which I hope will help many other people like us, who also rely on the important work both these charities do.”
“Many of us have busy lives focused on our families and our work and often it seems difficult just to make it all happen on a day to day basis. Certainly, that was the case for me for many years. But when you have time or are willing to make time, it's just great to get involved with other voluntary activities, such as the South West Coast Path. Apart from the simple and exciting enjoyment of walking this wonderful trail, you meet lots of interesting people both within the organisation and along the Path, or other people involved with the management of the Path and the local areas.
"In addition to the people interaction it provides both physical and mental stimulation, which is so important for all of us. And, it makes you feel happy that you are making a contribution to something important for the enjoyment of others. I believe more people should give their time, energy and commitment to some form of voluntary activity for the sake of others, and themselves.”
"Jill and I have always loved the West Country; we went to Paignton for our honeymoon in 1977! We have always loved walking too and in 1984 made the move from North London to Exeter, a move which we have never regretted. Over many years we walked bits of the coast path and some of them many times over, particularly around the Roseland Peninsula, The Lizard, South Hams and closer to home from Brixham to Seaton.
In 2014 we decided to walk the bit we hadn’t done, which we knew was at least 420 miles. We reckoned that it would take us about 5 years to complete and that was the case as we completed the whole path in August 2019.
Having started off doing circular walks taking in a bit of the Coast Path, we quickly realised that it would take us for ever so we started going to holiday cottages, driving to our destination, meeting a taxi there, which then took us to our starting point. In that way we knew that when we arrived, tired, at the end of our walk we could get in our car and go to the nearest place for tea and cake!
We are proof that the Coast Path is good for the economy of the South West. Over the 5 years we stayed in 12 holiday cottages for a week at a time, (We walked 55 miles in one week in July 2017, our best week), we stayed in 4 hotels or B&Bs and we used innumerable taxi companies, the best of which was Nigel’s taxis in Weymouth, with whom we covered Abbotsbury to Lulworth Cove.
Having completed the path we are now considering our next challenge but it will be hard to find one which could give us the enjoyment and satisfaction that we’ve had in completing the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path."
Luggage Transfers provide hikers with a baggage collection service, so you don’t have to walk up and down all those hills carrying your kit. They deliver around 10,000 bags a month and donate 25p per booking to help look after the South West Coast Path. Thanks to them, more and more of you are getting in touch to tell us that you have completed all 630 miles of the SWCP. For one member who recently completed, Luggage Transfers helped him keep up momentum. Patrick Wyatt from Exmouth said, “On my journey to complete the SWCP, I started to use the Luggage Transfers service and managed to walk 215 miles from Minehead to Woolacombe and from Newquay round to Gorran Haven between April and September.”