30 July 2017

Now The Great Big Walk has finished and the walkers are resting after their mammoth efforts, we’re taking a moment to thank our wonderful funders, sponsors and partners who helped make the whole campaign possible.

Launch of The Great Big Walk in Batley.

Thank you to, The National Lottery, The Pears Foundation and The Prince’s Foundation

The whole Great Big Walk initiative wouldn’t be possible without the National Lottery who funded the majority of the walk and connected walking teams with some of the amazing community groups that do good, thanks to funding from National Lottery players. Each of the walk teams visited a number of National Lottery funded community groups along the way, and were really touched by the local impact being made. The ISCA Wheelchair dancers in Exeter and The Lawnmower Theatre Company in Gateshead stood out in particular. The Pears Foundation and The Prince’s Foundation were also crucial supporters of The Great Big Walk.

Thank you Youth Hostels Association (YHA)

There were plenty of nights away from home on this amazing walk and YHA helped out with places to stay. The London bound team travelled through Cambridge on their journey, describing their YHA stay as: “brilliant!” With fab locations, excellent facilities and really nice staff, YHA’s affordable accommodation helped them get the rest they very much deserved. The 24 hour reception team even helped provide a lovely surprise for one of the weary walkers, by passing along a stash of extra snacks and walking supplies a Cambridge based friend had left there for them.

Thank you Renault

Renault provided electric cars for all the teams to move luggage and provisions and to help walkers along the way when they really needed it. The support teams thought these were fantastic zippy cars, with one team “raving about it” and others very impressed with their “lovely wee car”. They all talked about how great it was to drive, excelling on all kinds of terrain, including those winding country roads. They also remarked on how good it felt to move through some of the most beautiful landscapes across the UK, doing no harm to the environment as they passed through.

The cars also proved a talking point for those they met along the way, with passers-by chatting to the drivers about how incredibly quiet the vehicle was. As one support team said: “One of the best cars I’ve ever driven!”

Thank you Fitbit

What long walk would be complete without a pedometer to track all those important steps? Every walker was sporting a Charge 2 model Fitbit for The Great Big Walk, which was key to keeping everyone motivated.

Some walkers used the devices to connect with the other groups around the country, tracking how different walkers were getting on each day. Things got a little competitive! Walkers were spurred on by seeing how many steps the others were racking up and it really kept them pushing forward. Many days even saw the walkers going for more than 20 miles!

But what the Fitbits perfectly demonstrated was how small steps can make a big difference. Little by little, with their steps combined, the walkers covered more than 1400 miles and over 3 million steps, in order to shine a light on people going the extra mile to bring people and communities together.

Thank you Bupa

Bupa was on-hand to keep the walkers in tip-top physical condition, providing exceptionally thorough pre-walk health checks that covered everything from musculo-skeletal and spinal movement tests to ECG’s and blood pressure monitoring. Walkers gained a sense of reassurance from the assessments which was helpful when embarking on such a big physical challenge.

It was important to stay healthy while walking in all weather conditions, whether that was through gale-force winds and relentless rain or in the summer heat. Different physical challenges manifested depending on the climate, the terrain and the length of the walk each day, so knowing that additional Bupa advice and support was available when needed was crucial. Courtney, who was with the London group, summed it up for us: “Having a positive pre-walk assessment with BUPA gave me the assurance I needed to approach the daunting task of a 21 day walk across England with much more confidence.”

The Great Big Walk also received funding from two very generous individuals who wish to remain anonymous. Thank you to all our funders and supporters who made it  possible.