QNI chief takes on ‘garden marathon’ as COVID-19 hits charity’s funding

Crystal Oldman joins nationwide 2.6 challenge to support charities affected by lockdown

Crystal Oldman walked more than 60,000 steps to raise funds for the Queen’s Nursing Institute

The head of the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has raised thousands of pounds in a ‘garden marathon’ to help the community nursing charity face the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than £8,000 was raised by the 26-mile walk

Chief executive Crystal Oldman raised £8,860 by walking the equivalent of a marathon (26.2 miles) on a treadmill and around her back garden on 25 April.

The money will go to the charity's new initiative the Listening Service, TalkToUs, which offers emotional support to all nurses working in community and social care settings.

The service, launched on 27 April, does not provide counselling but can signpost to the appropriate services.

QNI determined to continue support for community nurses

Crystal Oldman celebrates after
her 60,736-step charity walk

The ‘garden marathon’ took Dr Oldman nearly 12 hours and totalled 60,736 steps.

She thanked supporters for their donations made via a fundraising site, which exceeded the target of £2,600.

Dr Oldman said: ‘I am absolutely passionate that we must continue to provide the same level of support that we have done for community nurses for over 130 years, and which is needed now more than ever.

‘The amount raised will enable more than 100 community nurses to have a safe space to share their experiences and gain emotional support from our trained listeners – and we will continue to seek further funding to enable the service to continue in the coming months.’

Fundraiser attracts support from television doctor

Actor Stephen McGann, who plays doctor Patrick Turner in the BBC drama Call the Midwife, was among those who got behind Dr Oldman’s efforts.

The fundraiser comes at a challenging time for the QNI, with the charity estimating its income will be halved this year because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The QNI is not alone, with the charity sector expected to lose an estimated £4 billion in income as a result of the pandemic.

2.6 challenge aims to support charities during lockdown

Dr Oldman’s fundraiser was part of the 2.6 Challenge, a UK-wide initiative encouraging people to take part in sport and raise money for charities, while abiding by social distancing rules.

The campaign began on 26 April, on what would have been the day of the 40th London Marathon. Fundraisers were asked to base activities on the numbers 2.6 or 26.

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