Wilmslow Wells for Africa creates virtual gardens tour and becomes a fundraising star of YouTube
PUBLISHED: 08:38 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:39 12 August 2020
Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Handforth gardens go virtual for Africa
Wilmslow Wells for Africa (WWFA) is a charity formed in the mid-1980s by the late Brenda Mottershead. Its purpose is to provide clean water, hygiene, and sanitation to some of the poorest African communities.
For many years, the charity has held an Open Gardens Day on the last Saturday in June as its main fundraising event. Last year, this raised approximately £18,000 from visitors to the gardens open in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Handforth and the surrounding area. The day also includes lunch, refreshments, and the chance to buy plants and other items at the local church and some of the gardens. The funds are then allotted to various projects by WWFA in conjunction with its partners.
Earlier this year, due to Covid-19, the charity took the difficult decision to write to its partners, telling them that some projects were unlikely to be funded in 2020 as lockdown would reduce fundraising. In response, the Gardens Day Committee decided to organise a Virtual Gardens Day to raise much-needed funds. This involved creating and posting on YouTube 17 local garden videos with a range of themes, plus an introductory video outlining the charity’s purpose.
The new approach involved a tremendous effort from the gardeners and volunteers to create the videos. The videos were created in about three weeks and launched on June 27. To much amazement, some five weeks later, the new approach had raised a record £20,400. The charity was then able to contact its partners again and start to progress projects that had been put on hold, bringing more clean water, hygiene, sanitation. and hope to many communities. Immediately, the charity has started helping the following projects, with more to follow:
Malawi - 7 borehole repairs with the distribution of soap
Uganda - 20 protected springs, each typically serving 400 people
Zambia -2 washstands for 36 children now able to wash their hands at the same time
Uganda - 4 shallow wells with 6 completed wells already giving good water supply
With COVID 19 still a pandemic, these projects will provide both water and sanitation to some of the poorest people in Africa. A fantastic result.
Since its inception, WWFA, a volunteer-run charity has now raised approximately £1.4 million, with more than 99% of the funds going directly to projects.
Donald Ferguson of Wilmslow Wells for Africa says: “Next year, the charity is hoping the regular Open Gardens Day can take place again. But the event this year allowed the great work to continue in what has been a very challenging time – especially for the communities in need.”