Sunday, 24 October 2010

Press release: East London charity runs historic Athens marahton

For immediate release


East London community needs will have their profile raised this weekend when a Tower Hamlets office worker takes to the hills of the 2500th Athens Classic Marathon event to raise funds for the East London Community Foundation charity.

The East London Community Foundation (ELCF) is a grant-giving organisation that works to provide small amounts of money to grassroots organisations in Barking & Dagenham, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Local office worker Rowena Harding, 35, was inspired to run for the Foundation as a result of the budget cuts that she felt would have an effect on local people.

"Over the years I have supported big national charities but this year I wanted to feel closer to the causes I am running for, especially after the drastic budget cuts which will make life harder for so many East London residents. I work and volunteer in Tower Hamlets and have lived in Waltham Forest so I have seen firsthand that there is so much that can be done on a small scale at local level that will have a knock on effect and long term impact that far outweighs the size of the donation that these organisations and activities run on."

The marathon, which takes place on October 31, traces the original 26.2 mile route from Marathon to Athens, as run by a solider Pheidippides to announce Greek's victory over Persia in the battle of Marathon in 490BC. The foot solider ran the distance, announced victory, and then died from exhaustion.

“This is going to be a tough run,” said Harding, “because of the hills and the threat of warmer temperatures. This is the same marathon that Paula Radcliffe stopped by the road side and cried. I hope I don’t end up like that and most of all, I hope I don’t finish like Pheidippides!”

Rowena is challenging East London's high profile and wealthy businesses to join in her marathon effort on her return by organising an office fundraiser. ELCF Director Anja Beinroth says this is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to give back to the community. "East and North East London is the most exciting part of London: it is the site of the largest regeneration programme in Europe, including the planning and construction projects linked to the Thames Gateway, the Olympics, the extension of the M11- Cambridge corridor, Crossrail, the extension of the DLR, and the new international terminal for Eurostar at Stratford. Yet the area is marked by deprivation: Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey, Barking & Dagenham and Waltham Forest are all within the 28% most deprived areas in the country, and parts of Redbridge and Havering experience similar but unrecognised levels. This is where local community activity can make such a huge difference."

Rowena is hoping that staff in locally based big businesses such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Nomura and Aon will consider wearing their gym kit in the office for the duration it took her to complete the marathon, and contribution a donation or "penalty fine" as a result. Businesses interested in taking part can visit


Notes to the Editor:

1. For more information on ELCF or for case studies of the charity’s work contact: Anja Beinroth (Acting Director) on 0300 303 1203 or e-mail .

2. To speak to Rowena contact: 07985 198 770

3. To donate visit

4. Community foundations are experts in revitalising local communities through effective charitable giving. Over the last 16 years well over 15,000 private sector donors have used the services of a community foundation to ensure that their giving has been invested to make the lasting difference that they want to see. Community foundations now manage over to £250m of committed endowed giving and it is estimated that most people in London will live or work within 2 miles of a charitable project that a community foundation has supported.

5. East London Community Foundation, a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, works with donors who can be companies, individuals or organisations such as private charities and faith groups for example, to promote local giving to support local community and voluntary groups.

6. A grant-maker in Barking & Dagenham, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and the City of London, the Foundation is working to establish a range of charitable funds to meet the needs of its local communities.

7. This year the Foundation will make approximately 150 grants totalling approx. £0.5m to local community and voluntary groups. Over the next 3 years the Foundation is aiming to develop endowed funds with a value of over £1m by working with donors who appreciate that by preserving the capital value of their gift and using the annual income for grant making a permanent community fund can be built which will support local voluntary action for ever.

8. Under the Grassroots Endowment Match Challenge, an individual’s donation of £10,000 could become a personally named fund worth more than £25,000, which will support local community needs in perpetuity. For Higher Rate taxpayers, the net cost of such a donation will be £7,500 or less. The donations of local business and other organisations can also be doubled.

9. For more information please go to:

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