By Gareth Pritchard, partner
Responsible business lead partner for Wales, Gareth Pritchard, writes about the charity fundraiser that he and a team of colleagues took part in for Llamau this month.
Llamau’s STAY:UP charity event took place on Friday 9 October. Rather than sleeping like last year, the 2020 challenge was to stay up from 8pm until 8am and raise funds for this great charity to help them end youth homelessness in Wales.
It all began at 8pm with 23 Deloitte people keen and eager to take on the challenge of staying up for the next 12 hours, socially distanced and from our own homes, of course. Team members included our senior office partner for Wales, Ian Howse, and also Tess Williams, a fellow tax partner, as well as directors, senior managers, managers, assistant managers, analysts, associates, consultants and assistants from all areas of our Welsh practice.
With a team WhatsApp group, a full schedule of virtual hourly games as well as Llamau’s activity line-up, and regular check-in’s on Zoom throughout the night, we were determined to see the night through.
I say there were 23 of us in the Deloitte Wales team, however a number of family members popped up on Zoom calls now and again. We even had a fully-fledged youngster join the team - Lauren’s seven year old daughter Meadow - who was being sponsored by family and friends. Both looked amazing in their matching t-shirts.
We started really well and were all looking very happy with ourselves for still feeling so wide awake … until we looked at the clock, that is, and realised it was only 10pm.
At our 10.30pm check in call we were delighted to be joined by Richard Houston, Martyn Gregory and Dan Barlow who congratulated the team on our the efforts and provided everyone with words of encouragement for the long night ahead.
With a series of check-in’s and some Llamau organised activities under our belt, we were all feeling very confident as we approached midnight. Now that our families had gone to bed and our homes were quiet, we relied solely on each other to ensure we stayed awake.
At half past the witching hour, the Zoom games began! After an hour of Catchphrase, it wasn’t long before the Scattegories quiz at 2am, both activities to keep our brains active. Well, anyone looking at our answers could have challenged that!
Time for the biscuit-eating challenge - Emily was crowned champion after her ability to chomp her way through three bourbons in under a minute.
With 4am approaching and everyone feeling the strain of remaining awake, a few of us in the Deloitte team thought we’d give the scavenger hunt a miss and go for a walk round Roath Park to help us battle our fatigue. Well, it was rather cold out and that was certainly a wake-up call!
After the 5am game of Pictionary – which apparently worked well using the whiteboard on Zoom and produced some interesting imagery – we knew we were getting closer to our end goal of 8am.
In the final remaining hours some of the team chose to make breakfast or take part in Llamau’s online yoga at 7am in hope that the time would fly by. It didn’t.
The last one hour of the morning felt like hell and went by so slowly. Counting down the minutes until 8am were the longest 60 minutes of our lives. But then it arrived – our final check-in call at 8am.
We did it! Staying up for 12 hours was a completely different experience from sleeping out at Cardiff Castle last year, although it proved challenging at times.
It was an amazing night for the team and I’m thankful for everyone involved who made STAY:UP such a memorable and fun-filled night. But we all acknowledged that whilst it was a single night for us, it was nothing like the sleepless nights young homeless young people and vulnerable women experience every day.
But we can proudly say that, with matched funding, our commitment to the challenge raised nearly £12k for Llamau. The charity does fantastic work to end homelessness and delivers vital services to those who need their support, and we hope the funds we raised with help create brighter futures.
We were all delighted with the support from colleagues, friends and family who sponsored us and helped us raise such an amazing amount of money for Llamau, especially as the charity is facing a loss of £350k in income this financial year alone due to the COVDID-19 pandemic.
Here’s what some of the Deloitte team had to say
“It was an amazing experience, the activities put together made it bearable along with the people. It made me realise how lucky I am to be able to sleep under a roof.”
“One of the best parts of the night for me (alongside the raising money for a fantastic cause) was meeting and chatting to people in the firm that I’ve never seen or spoken to before. It surprised me how hard it actually was to stay up, especially once it got to about 4am. But the constant WhatsApp messages from the team and online virtual catch ups and games really kept me going. It was a totally surreal, yet fun experience. Also seeing the funds go up through the night and the next day felt great! I absolutely hate missing any sleep but this was totally worth it and I hope we can all meet up properly and do the annual sleep out next year.”
“Staying up for the night was relatively tough, but definitely doable and also with the comfort in knowing full well that it would be back to normal the next day. It was also great to interact with some other colleagues I’ve not met before and who played a part in helping me stay awake.
"This experience has however put into perspective how someone homeless or vulnerable might feel for days on end with countless sleepless nights, worrying about the basic necessities, like where their next meal might come from, where they would sleep, etc. And it makes me appreciate charities like Llamau that help alleviate these pressures in society on a daily basis and give hope and support to people that need a hand to get back onto their feet.”
“At Deloitte, one of the things we’re great at is being able to create a team spirit in any situation and team combination. And the STAY:UP night was not an exception! Plenty of support was going around throughout the night and with all the planned activities, the night flew by. My favourite part was the support given to us by the children of our team members, with little Meadow being the hero of the night by staying up until 6am!”
"This was much more challenging than it may have sounded after the usual Deloitte week. The team spirit and games really helped as did the support of my daughter."
“I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed myself. It’s seems so rare to find organisations such as ours that not only tell people that we care, but that actually go one step further and back it up with action. We work with some incredible people and it was such a pleasure to be able to spend the time with everyone, even if it meant a 4am walk around Roath Park!”
“Very enjoyable evening! I particularly enjoyed all the team activities that kept me going - really great team effort!”
“I had a wonderful time! As an entirely ‘remote’ new starter it has been challenging to meet people from my own team, let alone the firm at large. The opportunity to meet such fun and likeminded people in aid of a fantastic cause was a great experience. Highlight: Meeting colleagues in person (albeit at a distance) for the first time during the walk in the park. Lowlight: Yoga at 7am was a challenge – I nearly fell asleep in the downward facing dog! Can’t wait to do it again soon.”
Our Cardiff practice’s chosen charity is Llamau. It’s part of Deloitte’s One Million Futures strategy to help one million people get to where they want to be, whether it’s in the classroom, the workplace or the boardroom.
Llamau aims to eradicate homelessness and their work is really important as they support some of the hardest to reach groups in society - young people and vulnerable women. By supporting Llamau, we help these people to access learning, develop new skills and build an independent future.