Despite a few postponements, Thanet resident Paul Wells was able to achieve his fundraising skydive on 17th July to help raise funds for Thanet Winter Shelter.
CommunityAd caught up with Paul to find out more about his superhero skydive…
You decided to take a tandem skydive for charity, have you ever skydived before and what made you choose to take this leap of faith?
I have never skydived before, but it is something that I have always wanted to do (as has my twin brother). It was our 50th birthday in November 2020, so I treated myself, and also paid for him to jump as a 50th birthday gift so we could both complete tandem skydives for our chosen charities. Brian jumped for the Kent MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Therapy Centre, Canterbury.
What made you choose the Salvation Army as your chosen charity?
I have been a volunteer at the Thanet Winter Shelter since 2018, and a member of the Steering Committee since 2019. The shelter is run and supported by The Salvation Army, Ramsgate Corps, with funding provided by Thanet District Council. I am raising money for the winter shelter under the Salvation Army umbrella.
In 2020 I put myself forward as a fundraiser for the shelter, set up a JustGiving page and promoted it through social media, to-date donations to the JustGiving page have reached £15,000. As well as setting up the shelter JustGiving page I wanted to also complete a personal challenge to raise additional funds, hence why I chose the skydive.
You have volunteered for the Thanet Winter Shelter for the last 3 years, can you explain just how much this group does to help rough sleepers in Thanet and what you enjoy most about volunteering with them?
The Thanet Winter Shelter provides rough sleepers with a secure, safe and supported environment during the coldest months of the year, guests are provided with a warm bed space, hot meals and food. Through engagement with shelter staff, volunteers and the Thanet RISE (Rough sleeper Intervention, Support and Empowerment) team, guests are empowered to bring about change and improve their lives.
The aim of the shelter (and the RISE team), is to empower and motivate rough-sleepers to move on, into council or privately rented, temporary or permanent accommodation, in a supported manner.
What was the overall skydive experience like and what did you enjoy most about it?
The whole experience was amazing, as soon as I was on the ground, I wanted to do it again – so much so that I’m tempted to sign up for a week-long skydiving course. It was all exhilarating, but the best bit for me was the freefall before the chute was opened, the feeling of floating free in the air was amazing!
In total, how much have you raised and can donations still be received?
Total to-date is £920 (inc. Gift Aid). The page is still open for donations – www.justgiving.com/skydivefortws.
Donations can be also posted or dropped into the Salvation Army, Ramsgate:
Paul Wells – Skydive for TWS
c/o The Salvation Army
167 High Street
You have raised over £900; how much will this incredible amount help towards The Salvation Army?
In previous years the Thanet Winter Shelter has been a rotating shelter, using church halls to accommodate guests in open, dormitory style sleeping areas for the night only. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this model is no longer permissible, as use of open sleeping areas in winter shelters is prohibited. Consequently, this year the provision is very different, with guests having their own rooms, in one location and in a 24/7 operation staffed all of the time, resulting in greatly increased costs. The money that I raise will help cover the costs associated with running the shelter this winter.