Sophie Antonelli, Co-Founder of Peterborough’s community garden project The Green Backyard (GBY), explains why she and a team of fundraisers will be attempting the Three Peaks Challenge this June.
On June 27th I, along with five other walkers and two volunteer drivers, will be attempting the national Three Peaks Challenge. We’ll be doing our best to climb the three highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – within a 24 hour window, and all in aid of The Green Backyard (GBY), the community garden I co-founded and have volunteered with for almost seven years now.
Whilst I am lucky to have a fairly active lifestyle, the only time I go running is when I’m late for a train. This, along with the fact that Peterborough’s fenland landscape is not exactly known for its hills, means that this is going to be a massive challenge! But despite the almost magnetic way that I am repelled away from exercise and attracted to the cheese counter, this year I wanted to attempt a physical challenge that would really test me.
Since we started fundraising in earnest for The Green Backyard last year, all of us here have been overwhelmed by the support and incredibly generous donations from people not just from Peterborough, but all over the UK, who have come together to say that they want to keep a community managed green space in the heart of Peterborough. To date we have raised over £18,000, and that’s without even knowing how much we will eventually have to raise to buy the site.
It’s likely that we have a lot more fundraising ahead, so before I ask anyone else to undertake sponsored walks, fun runs or yard sales I knew I had to put my money where my mouth is and get my walking boots on.
As the date approaches I find myself wondering whose stupid idea this was (it was mine for the record), but the thought of all the people that the GBY has helped over the years will keep me going. We don’t shout about them too much, but in my mind they’re always there with me; from the lady so agoraphobic she could barely leave the house and is now out of therapy and a remarkably creative and active figure, to the guy signed off work with stress, now making his living as a very busy and happy gardener!
Community-led spaces like the GBY transform people’s lives in so many, often intangible, ways. We try things, we welcome people, and we celebrate together. We don’t always get things right, and that’s how we learn what works. We are committed to creating a community that cares for and supports each other, differences and all. A Peterborough without The Green Backyard would be a colder, greyer, more dispassionate place, and that’s not the kind of place I want to live.
So that’s why the six of us will be dragging our weary Fen legs over hill and down dale this weekend, and why our drivers have signed up for a 1,000 mile round trip. You can sponsor us if you like, or start thinking about a challenge of your own. We’ll be live blogging the whole excruciating experience, so please follow and share it with your own followers. This is just part of a much longer journey for us, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride.