Chopper Challenge raises thousands for Cornerstone
A unique fundraising event has raised thousands of pounds for Scottish social care charity, Cornerstone, after participants were given an insight into the rigorous safety training given to staff in the oil and gas industry.
Cornerstone teamed up with leading safety training firm, Falck Safety Services, to host the Chopper Challenge on Thursday, November 17, giving 16 participants a taste of life in the offshore energy sector.
The evening started with a detailed safety briefing by Falck’s expert instructors before participants were strapped into its world-class Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) simulator and plunged into the pool. They then had to put their escape training and in-water survival techniques to the test as they strived to swim to the surface.
Thanks to the fantastic fundraising efforts of the four teams, the event raised almost £5,000 for Cornerstone’s Quality of Life programme which aims to transform the lives of people with disabilities and other support needs by providing access to essential specialised equipment, services and activities that might otherwise be unavailable – and money is still coming in.
A post-event drinks reception was sponsored by Aberdeen-based craft brewery, Fierce Beer Co, which supplied four different varieties of their craft beers for participants to sample.
Louise Mackay, Fundraising Events Coordinator at Cornerstone, said: “We were absolutely delighted with the enthusiasm shown from all our teams, both in terms of their fundraising efforts as well as for the challenge itself and would like to congratulate them all for taking the plunge – we know many were quite apprehensive and really considered it a challenge.
“We would also like to say a massive thank you to our amazing sponsors who made the event possible. The whole team at Falck went above and beyond to make the evening something our participants will never forget, while the beers supplied by Fierce Beer Co went down a treat.”
The top fundraising team was from Studio 202, which specialises in aerial skills training, who raised a total of £1,659 with around £920 of that coming from an evening of pole, aerial hoops and burlesque at Aberdeen’s Underground club.
Kerri Bellingham, Instructor at Studio 202, said: “Our whole team had a fantastic time taking part in the Chopper Challenge and we really want to thank the team from Falck for keeping us safe throughout the event.
“We were overwhelmed with the generosity of family and friends, but as it was all for such a great cause, we didn’t really need any additional motivation to try and raise as much money as possible.”
The HUET simulator is part of a suite of mandatory training courses for all workers travelling offshore by helicopter and this challenge gave members of the public the chance to experience the comprehensive training they undertake before heading to the North Sea rigs.
Colin Leyden, Managing Director of Falck Safety Services UK, said: “We were delighted to work with Cornerstone to host the Chopper Challenge and enjoyed showing off our world-leading facilities to a new audience.
“Many people don’t appreciate the level of training involved before workers can travel offshore and hopefully this event gave the participants a greater understanding of the industry, allowing them to challenge themselves while raising money for a fantastic cause.”
Falck Safety Services has 39 training centres across the world – including two UK sites in Aberdeen and Teesside – and is an industry leader in safety training to the oil and gas, shipping, renewable energy, maritime, industrial, military and aviation industries.
Cornerstone provides care and support services for adults, young people and children across Scotland who live with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and other support needs.
Since 1980, Cornerstone has grown to support more than 2,200 people each year, delivering services within 18 local authority areas across Scotland. More information on Cornerstone can be found by visiting www.cornerstone.org.uk