Local Hero Liam Garcia Interview
Liam Garcia is the founder of The Long Well Walk – a charity which works towards building a world where everyone has access to clean, safe water. Exposed managed to grab a chat with him to hear about his latest progress.
Hiya Liam, the last couple of years have been crazy for you! How was this idea of The Long Well Walk born?
About two years ago, I was travelling around Ireland and stayed with a Czech family in Dingle. It was a cooperative house, and one of the husbands staying there was completing a walk from Copenhagen to Amsterdam to raise money for cerebral palsy. I ended up taking over his PR – and after this experience I decided to create my own fundraiser. It’s amazing how much we’ve grown. You need £5,000 to register as a charity, and that was a great highlight for us, getting our register certificate.
What’s great about your charity is that it informs donators exactly how their money is being spent…
Honesty is extremely important. At this project, 100% of donations go to the cause. With such contributions we are hoping to go and build water supplies for about ten different countries in Africa, but if we raise more money hopefully we’ll be able to reach about sixteen. The more we raise, the more opportunities we’ll gain to be able to make a difference.
You also alert people to the wider social issues that providing clean water for communities can change. Do you think this aspect of water poverty alleviation deserves more publicity?
Water is the most basic need for any human, just being able to have access to clean water affects the way in which a community works. At the moment, in some of these countries, children aren’t going to school. Instead, they’re spending their days walking 4 ½ – 5 hours to collect water. By creating these projects, it allows children to stay in school, and also helps gender equality, with women being able to have management roles within the water projects we help set up.
You’ve organised loads of events around Sheffield, with great support from venues such as CADS, but your main mission is a trek from Sheffield to Cape Town. When are you hoping to complete this?
Starting in early 2014, it’ll be a 15-18 month trek, 20 miles a day – 6 days on, one day off. On the way I’ll be helping set up facilities so that locals can have access to clean water. It costs about £5,000 to set up one installation – so the more funding we can get for this expedition, the more villages we can help.
What are The Long Well Walk’s next local fundraising events that we can get involved in?
We’re in the process of planning a few events at the moment, but we would love to hear from people who are graphic designers, film makers or web designers, who are interested in gaining work experience in the charity sector.
Most memorable fundraising event so far?
My Nan, Jean Lillis, hosted a garden party that rose over £2,500, which was pretty amazing.
Highlight for the charity so far?
Receiving our charity registration number. We were in a freezing cold office, wrapped up in our coats drinking warm champagne out of mugs.
Twitter – @longwellwalk
Facebook – The Long Well Walk