Colleagues at Standard Bank have set themselves challenging targets as they chalk up the miles to support families in rural Africa.

A total of 34 members of staff at Standard Bank in Jersey are walking, running or cycling as many miles as possible between now and the end of March as part of the Relay for Hope initiative.

Run by international development charity Send a Cow (SAC) of which Standard Bank is a long-term strategic partner, the Relay for Hope has been launched to help raise funds for much needed work across sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall, 82 employees from Jersey, Isle of Man and South Africa offshore teams are participating with colleagues collectively travelling 5,400 miles – the approximate distance between the highlands of Ethiopia and the grasslands of Zambia. SAC runs projects in both areas to help communities and families secure their own futures from their land. By providing essential farm & livestock training, and improving access to soap & safe water, the charity helps families in rural Africa all year round – a need heightened throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Standard Bank employees have already set themselves impressive targets with one member of staff in Jersey clocking 16 hours of exercise in the first week alone.

Tim Townsend, Senior Business Development Manager, Corporate and Business Banking in Jersey, said: ‘Since the virtual relay was launched at the start of February, the efforts of those taking part have been emphatic and we’ve even indulged in some friendly rivalry with our colleagues in the Isle of Man.

‘The fact every completed mile and every pound raised can help families across rural Africa is incentive enough, but what is equally heartening is that many of our teams have engaged with their friends and family and got them involved too which helps raise wider awareness of the charity.

‘A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to travel to Uganda to see the dedicated work of Send a Cow which ensures families in vulnerable areas become self-sufficient, food secure and more resilient to climate shocks. The funds our teams raise will help families learn skills that will prove more invaluable than usual during the coronavirus pandemic, such as how to harvest rainwater to use during the dry months, and how to build a tap to wash their hands safely.’

Standard Bank has covered the registration fee for all staff taking part and pledged to match the amount raised by its top fundraising team up to £750. It is also running an internal competition to see which employee clocks the most amount of activity over the six weeks.

Colleagues are being encouraged to raise a minimum of £250 as a team, or £60 as an individual, and share photos and descriptions of their efforts online.

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