Community is one of AVA’s core values and holds a strong place at the centre of our close-knit team. We work hard to foster a strong feeling of togetherness and compassion among our staff members, but our ‘Community’ value also extends to the working community of our customers, partners and suppliers and to the wider local community around our base in Cheshire, England. In order to foster links with the local community, AVA members regularly pull together to take part in fundraising events. From team efforts like the squad who endured the mud at last year’s Born Survivor race to raise money for a local Macclesfield Charity, to our annual cake fest for the MacMillan coffee morning, the team are keen to get involved! A wonderful colleague recently chopped off her hair (raising money for both Cancer Research and Marie Curie) in aid of Little Princess Trust, and another completed the Manchester 10k in May, raising much-needed funds for MacMillan.
This year we’re incredibly pleased to share the news of our sponsorship of one of Macclesfield’s biggest fundraising events; The Bikeathon, which returned on Saturday 20th May 2023, for its fifth successive year! The Bikeathon is a well-supported cycling event that makes a significant difference to young people in Macclesfield. It is unique in that it is a community-based, family-friendly cycling fundraiser, supported by Macclesfield Town Council, which raises much-needed funds for local charity Just Drop In. Each year, the charity helps over 1,000 local young people through difficulties and back on their feet to a better life path and future.
We interviewed one of the event key organisers, Darren, to find out more about the importance of this fun event: “Bikeathon used to be a big event in Macclesfield back in the 90’s attracting over 2000 riders, unfortunately it ceased to exist due to spiralling costs. In 2019 I decided to try and revive Bikeathon and raise funds for a local charity, youth charities are close to my heart and Just Drop In are one of the best! Macclesfield Town Council loved the idea and are a great help with funding and organising. To date Bikeathon raised over £15,000 from rider entry fees and I’m extremely proud that every penny has gone directly to Just Drop In.”
Ann Wright, from Just Drop In, tells us more about the impact of the services they provide and explains how the support and funds raised from The Bikeathon event will be of help: “We have been providing support and services to local children for over 20 years. We do all that we can to help children and young people who are finding life hard, whether it is a result of their social circumstances or health and wellbeing. We are busier than ever and help around 1000 children and young people a year. When Darren approached us about reviving the bikeathon event in 2019, we thought it was wonderful, any event which promotes health, fitness, and community engagement is something we would want to get behind. We will be using funds from the Bikeathon to fund our counselling service as it is underfunded in the coming year. It is our main fundraising activity of the year, but more than this, it is a phenomenal opportunity to be a part of our wonderful community. We really do need our community as much as our community needs us, and it’s a great way to engage with local people.”
One of AVA’s super fit exercise advocates, Caroline Gisby, took part in last year’s event and rounded up the AVA troops, along with their friends and families, to take part in this year’s cycle: “There are so many benefits in taking part to support the bikeathon and it’s great fun and anyone can do it! Aside from raising money for JDI, it’s a lovely day out in the countryside, it promotes health and fitness for all ages, as well as the environmental benefits of travelling by bike. There’s always a buzz about town on the day and you always bump into people you haven’t seen for a while. Last year I did the middle distance (30 mile) route with my teenage son, Tom, while my younger daughter, Lauren did the shorter (12 mile) family route with a friend and her family. The family route is perfect for novice riders and youngsters. There’s also a longer (60 mile) route for the more serious cyclists, so there’s something for everyone! I’m hoping we’ll have a good turnout of AVA staff and family members this year. We just have to cross our fingers for some nice weather on the day!”
Having gone the extra mile, the organisers have even found a way to extend their generosities in supporting local businesses, as Darren explains: “The whole event is intended to have a positive impact on our local community and local economy, and at the same time mitigate the environmental impact. So, to achieve this, rather than handing out medals or T-Shirts as a thank you for entering, riders will receive a gift voucher to spend with a choice of local retailers.”
A final message from Darren for anyone who wishes to take part in his incredible, fun event: “As in previous years, participants pay a £25 entry fee and to date, every penny of that has gone directly to the charity, a total of over £15,000 has been raised which has delivered over 500 sessions of counselling to help local vulnerable children through their struggles with mental health issues.”
So, with a choice of courses through the Silk Town’s scenic countryside suitable for all cyclists despite age and experience, and a golden opportunity to support a truly fantastic charity and some surrounding local businesses, why not get involved? Follow them online for future event updates.
Another local organisation AVA is proudly supporting is Vale Juniors FC, a grassroots football club, founded in our neighbouring town, Congleton, Cheshire. Established in 1983, the club has expanded over the years and now has an impressive 32 teams across the senior, junior, girls and ‘mini’ age groups!
When he’s not managing our AVAtors in the technical support team, Rob Soames, AVA’s Technical Solutions Manager, dedicates his spare time to coach and manage one of his son’s teams. Vale Junior Bears U9 team trains once a week and play every Saturday in the Cheshire league. As they approach the end of this current season, we’re told they have shown great improvement and done very well! Well done Rob and the Bears 🐻 !
We were delighted to be able to support Vale Juniors, in sponsoring their red and black away kit, which has seen them through the 22/23 season and will continue through to 2024. “Thanks to AVA for sponsoring Congleton Vale Juniors Bears U9s Football team! Vale Juniors is a community football club, our aim is to get as many kids as possible who want to play football playing no matter what their ability. We have run fundraising events in the past such as ‘Party in the Park’ which is a family fun day held in Congleton Park, but having sponsors is essential to help ensure football is accessible to all.” – Rob Soames
If any local businesses would like to support Vale Juniors with any sponsorship opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact the club for more information.
We wish all the Vale Junior teams good luck for next season!
More recently, AVA donated to the local Macclesfield Cricket Club to help the sports club install a much-needed artificial “all-weather” wicket (artificial sports grass). The final funds were raised by the club in December and in February, the contractors removed the 25-year-old artificial strip and laid the new one. The new wicket is now regularly used and benefits the mixed youth teams (ages 5-15), the new Women’s team, the Senior teams, and it will soon be used for local Disability cricket teams.
Macclesfield CC Chairman Simon Griffiths said “Thank you AVA for your generosity in supporting our 175 year old community club. Our existence, maintenance, and growth rely entirely on sponsorship, donations and the hard work of its volunteers. Our last artificial wicket was played on for 25 years. This new one will benefit many future generations of cricketers”.
If any local businesses would like to support Macclesfield Cricket Club with any sponsorship opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact the club for more information.
We wish all the cricket teams the best of luck with their matches!