Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves
Tue 5th December 2023
A Derbyshire teaching assistant has raised thousands of pounds for youth services in his home town.
James Simpson, who is also Forest Schools instructor at Woodbridge Junior School in Alfreton, began his kind-hearted fundraising back in 2022.
He has now raised an amazing £18,500 which is being used to fund the recently introduced AYUP (Alfreton Youngsters Umbrella Provision) which offers a host of weekly activities for youngsters in the town.
James told The Spirit of Alfreton: “I first started fundraising during 2022 when I completed the UK Deca, this is a ten day race comprising of one Iron Man a day for ten consecutive days, each day consisting of 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile marathon. During this event I raised £13,500.
“The following year I completed a quin in a gym, which consists of five iron men in five days indoors, I completed this at Liverpool’s John Moore’s University, during this event I raised £5,000.”
James continued: “Other members of the AYUP organisation have raised money too, Paul Fox raised £2,000 riding coast to coast across the UK and local band Death Of The High Street raised £3,000 walking for 24 hours around Alfreton Park.
“We have also received support from local business with LW Smart Repairs making a very generous donation.
“One of our children’s club nights is also supported by local charity the Melissa Grace Hatton’s Children’s Trust.”
AYUP is a community interest company run by a group of local people to provide free youth activities for the children of Alfreton. All money raised is used towards holding youth activities which are provided for free at the point of use.
James said: “I am involved in the day-to-day running of AYUP and as a committee we are constantly fundraising in an attempt to pay for the children’s club night that we have established in the town. Check out AYUP on Facebook for all the details.
“On Monday we have funded the blend outreach youth project, this group will be out and about in town engaging the youth in activities; Wednesday night is sports club night at Alfreton Leisure Centre between 4pm and 6pm which is free of charge to all 11 to 17 year old’s. Here we play sports for fun, not competition.
“Thursday night is LGBTQ+ Night at Alfreton Tea Rooms, check out Facebook for the dates.
“Friday is the big one, AYUP funds the Old Farm Bus to put on a youth club in Mansfield Road Community Hall just opposite Lidl. Every Friday between 5pm and 7pm, we offer games and activity workshops including acro hoop, DJing, Dungeons and Dragons, various creative arts and crafts and self-defence.”
Regarding why he volunteers and fundraises so much for AYUP, James said: “I have always lived in the area and have benefitted from the many youth activities which used to be available in the town free of charge, but sadly have disappeared due to lack of funding.”
As for what’s next in his own personal fundraising challenges for AYUP, James said: “I am planning a world record attempt next year, this will be to beat the existing record for the longest continuous single event triathlon and it will mean I am constantly moving for around 40 hours.
“With the support of local youtuber @triathlondan, we hope to raise desperately needed funds.”
AYUP is constantly fundraising, look out for some of the team in town over the festive period.
James said: “Due to the success of the Friday night club, we are looking to expand our offering by looking at having a separate Dungeons and Dragons club. We are looking at funding this and other nights.
“Future plans are to have financial security to be able to offer the nights that we already offer, and establish new nights, but ultimately, we would like a bricks and mortar base.
“We believe that a town of Alfreton’s size should have a building that can provide a safe space for children to take part in a variety of activities.
“Please follow AYUP on Facebook and if anyone has any fundraising ideas don’t hesitate to contact me.
“Anyone wising to donate please contact me via Facebook.”
To find out more about AYUP go to here
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