Brighton and Hove Green Party councillors Elaine Hills and David Gibson raised over £2,300 for the Communities Forum Covid-19 Hardship Fund by taking on the Hanover and Elm Grove ‘Lockdown Running Challenge’ which they launched last month.

Their Challenge was to run a chosen number of kilometres over a chosen number of days, asking friends and family to sponsor them. Cllr Hills ran for 7 kilometres a day for 7 days in a row, while Cllr Gibson completed an even more punishing schedule of 10 kilometres a day for 10 days.

The money they raised was donated to the Communities Forum Covid-19 Hardship Fund via a Crowdfunder appeal, and will be going to two volunteer-run food hubs in the Hanover and Elm Grove ward. It will be spent on food parcels, which will be delivered to everyone in the neighbourhood who is short of food.

Some of the money will also be used to help establish a community co-op – a non-profit, local supermarket, which will allow people on low incomes to buy high quality food at rock-bottom prices. This is an initiative that Cllr Hills and Cllr Gibson have been working on with the Hanover and Elm Grove Communities Forum and other community groups in their area.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Cllr Hills, Cllr Gibson and their supporters, the money raised by the Lockdown Running Challenge more than doubled the total overall amount raised by the Hanover and Elm Grove Crowdfunder, which was set to close at £4,140 last week, but remains open to further donations. With every penny raised matched by a fund held by the Communities Forum, this means that a total of just under £8,300 will be donated to the food hubs and the co-op.

“Getting together as a community to set up a not-for-profit local food shop has inspired lots of neighbours in Hanover and Elm Grove,” Councillor Gibson. “The crisis has triggered an upsurge of community kindness, and this project is set to be a significant long-term support for people on low incomes and others. We hope to run it alongside a community café. Now that we have raised over £8,000, I am very keen to get stuck into making our vision a reality. I am pleased to have personally raised over £1,000 – it was well worth the sore knees!”

“I’ve never run so much, nor raised so much money from a sponsored event in my life,” added Councillor Hills. “We are extremely grateful to everyone – those in our community, family, friends and colleagues for sponsoring us. With the money raised from the Crowdfunder, we can work with community groups and individuals to make a massive difference to the lives of people in our ward.”

To contribute towards the Communities Forum Covid-19 Hardship Fund via their Crowdfunder appeal, please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/communities-forum-covid-19-hardship-fund