Comment: Right of Reply; Ailsa Ogilvie

A director of the charity Scope responds to a recent article by Sue Arnold
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The Independent Culture
SUE ARNOLD'S light-hearted dig at charity fundraising ("Does charity begin at the Great Wall of China?", Weekend Review, 10 April 1999) pinpoints the fact that these days it takes a lot more than pure altruism to encourage people to get involved with raising money.

She's right. We don't live in a "something for nothing" culture. The rising popularity of overseas charity fundraising events taps into something many want to get involved in. People like the challenge of getting fit to do tough treks and cycle rides.

But she is wrong to say that sponsoring someone to do such events is financing "what is basically a package holiday with optional excursions". In exchange for the chance to experience the challenge of a lifetime, participants must give a big commitment to help the charity, and significant sums of money have to be raised. Take the example of Scope. The charity raised more than pounds 2m from its overseas events last year alone. This is a vital new source of income.

Of course, there are some participants who can afford to cover the required minimum sponsorship themselves, but the vast majority spend months fundraising in their local communities and raising awareness of what Scope does. This often leads to friends and family wanting to get involved in the future. It is common for much more than the minimum amount to be raised. I can assure your readers that these events are not holidays. Sue Arnold could take part in Scope's Grand Canyon Bike Away or white-water rafting on the Zambezi. This would give first-hand experience of the effort and commitment of people of all ages striving to raise money to fund the vital services we provide to people with cerebral palsy and associated disabilities.