Each month, we shine a light on one of our amazing volunteers. May’s Volunteer of the Month is Caldon Pike, who organised and ran a half marathon to raise money for Groundwork. Caldon, a Business Development Manager at Octopus Investments, gets £500 to donate to a charity of his choice.
How did you get into volunteering?
I got into volunteering when I was at university, coaching underprivileged kids in rugby.
Why were you awarded Volunteer of the Month for May?
I plotted a half marathon route through London and ran it to raise money for community charity Groundwork. Together with Joe, Alex and Dan from Groundwork, I devised the run so that we’d pass through some of the charity’s projects along the way. I raised £620 for Cossall Youth Club in Southwark, a project run by Groundwork, which was £320 more than my target!
Groundwork sponsored my place in the Great North Run, but unfortunately, I injured myself playing rugby the day before and couldn’t take part. Instead of wasting the entry money, I decided to use my initiative to create my own half marathon instead.
What does Groundwork do? What drew you towards them?
Groundwork helps transform people’s lives in the most disadvantaged communities in the UK. They run loads of different projects, from youth clubs to upcycling workshops to helping ex-offenders get back into work.
A big part of their focus is on using green space to rehabilitate and support people. They believe people who live in places that are greener, cleaner and safer are healthier and happier – which is something I can definitely get behind.
How did the run go?
It was tough – it was the farthest I’ve ever run. And it was February, so the weather was pretty miserable: cold, wet and snowy. I got quite sore, but knowing I was running for a cause helped me take a step back and realise that it was only temporary pain, and that I’m fortunate not to be in a worse position.
I’ve signed up to do an Ironman in September. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be doing that for charity. I don’t want to let anyone down so I might just try and crack this one for myself!
I plan to keep looking for opportunities to get involved with volunteering at Octopus. I’m hoping to make the race I organised – or a version of it – a yearly thing that others can get involved in.
Were you surprised to win Volunteer of the Month?
Yeah, massively! I was away at the time and my old manager sent a photo of my big cheesy grin around the office!
Have you decided where your £500 donation will go?
I’m not quite sure yet, but I’d like to give some of it to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Recently, I also did some voluntary rugby coaching with underprivileged kids in Argentina, through Virreyes Rugby Club and the Atlas Foundation. As well as getting kids involved in sports, they offer breakfast and medical support. So it’s a really great cause and the money could make a real difference there.
And finally… what’s your message for anyone who hasn’t volunteered before?
Volunteering is a great way of giving to people who don’t have a lot. There’s always a way to help, and it’s so worthwhile. >