Wednesday May 1, 2019
On 24 March 2019, 40 volunteers from businesses in the catering and hospitality industry began a once in a lifetime trek with charity Springboard to help a local community in Borneo.
Included in the group were Ann-Marie Warrender, Marketing and PR Manager from Tri-Star Packaging, and Geoff Edwards, Business Development Manager from Aggora Group.
During their time in Borneo they trekked through the rain-forests, scaled the 4,000 metre Mount Kinabulu and canoeing down rivers, before finally helping to build a school for the young people of Dunsun Sungai.
Springboard is a charity that helps young people achieve their potential and nurtures unemployed people of any age into work. It helps alleviate poverty by supporting disadvantaged and underprivileged people into sustainable employment within hospitality, leisure and tourism.
Springboard aimed to raise a total of £135,000 from participants of the trek, to help the communities in Borneo and continue their great work for the UK catering and hospitality industry.
An interview with Geoff Edwards – Business Development Manager, Aggora Group
Why did you volunteer to take part in this trek?
One of the main reasons why I volunteered to take part in the trek was because I am a soon to be grandad and as someone who has just turned 50 I want to tell my grandson what his granddad has done to help people in the world and make it a better place.
In order to raise the money needed for the trek I conducted a raffle. The prizes in the raffle included, a signed CCS chefs jacket by Michel Roux Jnr., signed books from Jason Atherton and Cyrus Todiwala CBE, a pack of Dicks Knives, a bottle of limited edition Whisky and much more.
I also managed to raise a lot of money by posting on social media to my 2000+ LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends and Instagram followers. As well as social media, I sent out many emails, and updated my blog to gain donations.
To prepare for the trek we had a training weekend at Scarfell pike, in the Lake District. Climbing the mountain and trekking through the peeks over the weekend, it also gave us chance to get to know each other. It was quite a weekend with a snow storm, just right to prepare for the 40c heat and humidity!
I also walked a minimum of 10k per day, and when having meetings in London, I walked rather than getting a bus or tube, clocking up to 35,000 steps a day.
Overall my most favourite moment from the trek is the fact that I have gained 39 new friends for life. Since the trek we have been messaging each other on WhatsApp every day, and we are hoping to have a reunion very soon.
Also, whilst many aspects of the trip were demanding and full on, building the school and seeing the children and parents faces once it was completed was rewarding enough.
Other great memories from the trip include, spending time in a remote jungle village, cooking for 150 villagers using just 2 gas stoves, making a birthday cake in a wok, tasting great food from the markets and leaving through the jungle in a 4×4 at 4:30am .
Would you do the trek again – or recommend someone else to do it?
I would love to do the trek again, however I know that someone else needs to volunteer next year, so that makes me quite sad. I would recommend this once in a lifetime trek to anyone, although it was physically and mentally demanding, it was overall an emotional trip.
The one part that I did not enjoy was coming back to 600+ emails.
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- Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
- The Springboard Charity