Chariots beach race on St Andrews’ West Sands backs three charities

Runners taking part in this year's Chariots race on the West Sands in St Andrews will be helping to support three local charities ' RNLI, Families First and HomeStart East Fife.
Runners taking part in this year's Chariots race on the West Sands in St Andrews will be helping to support three local charities ' RNLI, Families First and HomeStart East Fife.

The annual Chariots beach Race in St Andrews has announced its new charity partners for 2018.

This year’s race takes place on Sunday, June 3, on the West Sands – the beach where scenes for the movie Chariots of Fire were filmed.

This will be its eighth year and, so far, the event has raised more than £25,000 for local charities.

The charities set to benefit thia year are the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (main charity partner), Families First and Home-Start East Fife.

Race director Ben McLeod said: “It has been a real delight to work alongside the St Andrews-based Worldwide Cancer Research over the last four years and we are thrilled to have raised more than £20,000 for the charity through Chariots over that time.

“From the event’s inception it has always been our intention to vary our support across a number of local charities .

“We are absolutely delighted to announce that proceeds from this year’s Chariots Beach Race will be split between three local charities.

“Supporting local charities within the community has always been an important part of Chariots.

“Choosing the RNLI as our main charity partner for the 2018 race is really a no brainer – they do incredible work across many beaches in and around Fife (including our own West Sands) and work tirelessly to ensure that our seas are safe.

“Families First and Home-Start East Fife both provide invaluable services by offering first-hand support to families across Fife and we want to do whatever we can to help raise awareness of both of these St Andrews-based charities and the work that they do.

“We are excited and look forward to working closely with our charity partners for this year’s race.”

Rachel Stewart, community fundraising manager for the RNLI, said the organisation was delighted to learn that it had been chosen to be the main beneficiary of the 2018 Chariots Beach Race.

She said: “With the RNLI having two lifeboat stations in Fife – Anstruther and Kinghorn – as well as providing a lifeguarding service over the summer months on six Fife beaches – including St Andrews East and West Sands – it really is fitting to be connected to the beach race.

“We’ll be there on the day not only with collecting buckets but also with coastal safety information to share, and we also hope to have some of our lifeguards present.

“We are looking forward to meeting all the participants and spectators.

“I’d really like to say a big thanks to the Chariots team for picking the RNLI – the money raised at this event will be spent on our RNLI lifesaving service provision in Fife.”

Families First is a unique organisation based in St Andrews delivering services to families living across North East Fife.

The services support families with children aged 5-16 years who have additional support needs.

The children and young people face challenges around autism and learning difficulties, poor physical and mental health, social problems such as poverty and rural isolation, and family problems such as fragile relationships, caring responsibilities and substance misuse.

Locally trained volunteers have many roles within the organisation, supporting local people in times of need and crisis, and improving life chances for all.

No other organisation in the area, delivers the services provided by Families First.

It works children and young people and locally trained volunteers to help them gain the confidence to achieve in life.

A spokesperson said: “We are fortunate to be based in St Andrews where we have ready access to road and transport networks reaching rural areas where most of our children reside.

“We also have access to a ready and willing volunteer population, through the University of St Andrews students, who wish to have a role with us – to support local children and young people and gain valuable work experience.”

Home-Start East Fife’s support for families is unique – across East Fife, a team of volunteers visit families at home each week, supporting parents in situations as diverse as isolation, illness, bereavement, multiple births and disability, or who are just finding parenting a struggle.

The volunteers provide practical and emotional support and help to build the family’s confidence and ability to cope, thus preventing family breakdown and the need for the intervention of statutory services.

In addition to home-visiting support, Home-Start East Fife staff and volunteers run family support groups, in St Andrews, Cupar and Auchtermuchty.

A spokesman said: “Our family support groups provide a safe and stimulating environment for parents and their pre-school children.

“Within the groups, our family support group co-ordinator and volunteers organise activities aimed at improving parenting skills and promoting positive interaction between parent and child and within their peer groups.

“Home-Start East Fife is in its 30th year of supporting families with young children across East Fife.

“Since the organisation was first set up, it has built up to supporting an average of 60 families annually, meaning around 1500 families have benefitted from the support of a home visiting volunteer or attendance at a family support group.”

The Chariots Beach race receives support from a number of local businesses – Eden Mill, Fisher and Donaldson, Jannettas, Thorntons, Westport Print and Design and St Andrews Rotary Club.

Only 700 places are available in the race – with 450 already takenfor this year’s event.

To sign up to Chariots 2018, visit www.entrycentral.com/chariotsbeachrace.

To find out more, go to www.facebook.com/ChariotsofFireBeachRace.