Next month (27 October), a team from the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will put on their most comfortable pair of walking shoes and set off briskly along the banks of the Thames starting from Tower Bridge and ending at Hampton Court.
The aim of their epic 26-mile sponsored trek organised by the London Legal Support Trust (LLST) is simple: to raise money for the IWGB’s legal department. The Trust has set up a fundraising page, will handle all the administration, and will pass on gift aid (+25% on donations by UK taxpayers). So, it is a really good deal for the IWGB.
This is the third time LLST has organised this Thames walk. In previous years IWGB members have raised some £3,000 which, says a union spokesperson, is ‘essential money for the legal department. This year we are especially anxious to have enough money to cover maternity leave for several members of staff.’
IWGB’s legal department is very effective, helping the union to win a series of high-profile court cases. It devotes many hours to defending members’ rights and has two main roles – representing members at in-house grievances, in disciplinary cases and at employment tribunals, and to bring cases to court against outsourcing or the abuses by the gig economy. It keeps costs down to an absolute minimum – all solicitors and barristers work pro-bono – and many of the department’s staffing costs are covered by generous grant funding, including from the London Legal Support Trust which has voted the department a ‘Centre of Excellence’.
Now, all that remains are for volunteers to sign up to take part in the walk and for sponsors to come forward. Together they will help raise much needed funds that will benefit IWGB members and staff, and the trek might even encourage participants to rediscover walking again. As the IWGB spokesperson said, ‘The more people who do the walk, the more sponsorship we can attract and the more funds we can raise.’
Of course, not everyone will want, or be able, to walk the full 26 miles. Therefore, there is the option to do just half the distance – starting either at 8.30am from Tower Bridge or later in the day from Putney. Those who really hate walking but want to help raise much needed funds for the union, can join in by cycling the distance or a portion of it.
Anyone wishing to take part should email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. And to raise money – either as a walker or as a social media influencer – please post the link to the fundraising page here (https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=IWGBLegalDepartment&pageUrl=1) to tell as many people as possible.