Honiton: Devon Freewheelers introduces virtual talks as pandemic hits charity’s fundraising

Devon Freewheelers, based in Honiton, has introduced virtual talks during the Covid-19 pandemic for groups and organisations keen to learn about the work of the charity and its volunteers.

The virtual talks are in place of the visits by a Blood Bike volunteer, in a bid to continue highlighting the work of the charity throughout Devon to community groups, schools, businesses and other organisations.

The tailored talks, in return for a donation, have been proving a success with the charity’s supporters, while raising much-needed funds for the Devon Freewheelers.

The pandemic has greatly taken its toll on our fundraising with all the community-based events and pot collections being suspended…

Nick Newby, Devon Freewheelers Operations Manager, said fundraising over the past year had proved challenging because of social distancing and lockdown laws.

He said the introduction of virtual talks had been a ‘great success’ in helping the charity overcome some of these obstacles.

Zoom and Teams talks meant the volunteers could update supporters on the work of the Devon Freewheelers while bringing in donations to help keep the charity’s free service on the road, he said.

Mr Newby, based at the charity’s Honiton headquarters, said: “The pandemic has greatly taken its toll on our fundraising with all the community-based events and pot collections being suspended.

“All our talks had to be put on hold because of social distancing and lockdown, so we have been unable to update our supporters with our latest news.

“To help overcome this we have turned to technology and found Zoom and Teams talks are proving to be successful for resuming our links with local groups and organisations.

“We hope the virtual meetings will help the charity open up some of the avenues for fundraising, and start donations flowing again.”

The virtual talks given by Devon Freewheelers volunteers can be tailored to suit each community group, club or organisation,” Mr Newby said.

He said: “The only difference between our virtual talks and live talks is they don’t have the bike there to look around.

“Our virtual presentations tend to be shorter in length than a visit, but we can do whatever is required to suit the needs of the group or person who has booked us. We can work around them.”

The online talks can include question and answer sessions for groups and their members, a potted history of the charity, the work of its volunteers and the free service they offer across the county, and how the Devon Freewheelers has adapted amid the pandemic.

  • To book a virtual talk for your group or organisation, call the Devon Freewheelers office on 0300 800 0105.

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