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GEARING UP FOR BARBERSRIDE

Born from a love of barbering and motorbikes, BarbersRide is an annual charity road trip raising funds for Make-A-Wish foundation. This year, they'll be hitting the road in Ireland.


We're honoured to have been able to sponsor some merch for this year's event, which is looking to be one hell of a ride!


For those who may not have heard of BarbersRide before, can you give us a quick overview of what you guys do?

BarbersRide is an annual charity road trip incorporating incredible evening events hosted by prestigious barbershops along the route. Everyone on the Ride gets the chance to relax, celebrate and fundraise with some of the UK’s most in-demand barbers before hitting the road together again next morning.


Since our first event in August 2017, so far BarbersRide has raised a grand total of £110,000 for charities including The Lion’s Barber Collective, London’s Great Ormond Street and Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospitals. Since 2019, BarbersRide have supported Make-A-Wish, which grants special wishes for sick children, bringing positivity and happiness in times of immense distress. It’s a national charity so children from all regions can benefit.


BarbersRide 2023 is heading to Ireland, kicking off on August 5th until the 10th when we reckon the craic at the finale party in Dublin will be immense!


Barbersride gathering sunset photograph

So how did it all start?

BarbersRide began with a chance conversation at London Barberbash in March 2017. Richie Finney of Captain Fawcett and Xavier Berrell discovered each was setting up a motorcycle tour of the UK. Captain Fawcett, with Harley-Davidson & GQ magazine, intended to tour UK barbershops. Xavier, with Colin Petrie of HardGrind. Rather than run two events in competition, they decided to join forces, the better to raise funds for charity. And so BarbersRide was launched in August 2017.


That first year, the chosen charity was The Lion’s Barber Collective. It was the very early days of their suicide prevention mission, and BarbersRide was determined to help get their BarberTalk programme up and running. We are enormously proud to have supported the beginning of training barbers to create safe spaces for men to talk openly and be signposted to mental health and suicide prevention charities. In fact, for the participants, the BarbersRide event itself has become one such safe space.


Since that first ride, every year has got bigger and better with more riders joining and many returning year on year. We all ride with one goal: to have as much fun as possible enjoying the unbeatable sense of camaraderie that only a motorcycling road trip can offer, whilst raising much needed funds for the Make-A-Wish charity.


We know local barbershop owners and fellow bike enthusiasts play a key role in running the organisation, but how do you involve and engage the general community in your fundraising efforts, and what kind of partnerships have you developed over the years to support your cause?

The host Barbershops are fantastic at drumming up community support, inviting their local contacts, friends and family and often getting local press involvement. It’s great fun, boosts their profile and, most of all, raises awareness about the charity and its amazing work.


We hold other fundraising events when possible, such as Captain Fawcett HQ hosted a Christmas Cabaret night featuring Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq & Tom Carradine’s Cockney Singalong, with Special Guest Madam Misfit with bar proceeds boosting the funds for Make-A-Wish, as do sales of tea and cake at Captain Fawcett’s Marvellous Barbershop Museum.


We get absolutely fantastic support from BarberEVO, our official Media Partner who really works hard to spread the word among the barbering community. And of course, there are the sponsors, without whom BarbersRide simply couldn’t happen.



Can you share the impact your fundraising has had on the children supported by the Make-A-Wish Foundation?

For Richie Finney, the impact of Make-A-Wish was already clear. His friend’s young daughter had her wish granted before she died, so he had personal experience of what the charity does to bring some light to the darkest of times for any family. Knowing the difference Make-A-Wish can make, even to just one life, keeps you pushing onwards.


Jason Suckley, the Make-A-Wish Chief Executive, says, "We are hugely grateful to BarbersRide and all those who have supported their brilliantly unique way of fundraising for Make-A-Wish over the years. Any money they raise will help us with our ambitious mission to light up the lives of every child in the UK who has a critical condition, by granting their wish.


From the moment they are diagnosed, the joy of childhood is often brought to an abrupt end while treatment, medical appointments and worry take over. It can’t be underestimated how powerful a wish can be in bringing light and joy to those children, as well as their loved ones, creating positive moments and cherished memories that have a lasting impact on all their lives."


How do you balance the demands of running a successful charity bike club with your personal and professional commitments, and what kind of support do you receive from your team and volunteers?

Not going to lie - it’s seriously time consuming! There are late nights and early mornings. It takes a huge amount of organisation and pulling together. It’s an enriching experience for everyone who takes part - from the riders themselves to the support team, barbershops who host guest events, educators, sponsors, friends and family.


Jenna at Captain Fawcett deserves a special mention for keeping the show on the road in recent years! And of course, with Make-A-Wish it takes a community of volunteers, fundraisers, donors, and community partnerships to help children feel like children again. Being part of BarbersRide 2023 means you are part of that community. It’s a tremendous feeling.


In what ways do you hope to grow and expand the organization and fundraising efforts in the future?

2023 sees the first BarbersRide go across the sea to Ireland, as we take on the the beautiful roads of the Emerald Isle. We’d love to see BarbersRide head into mainland Europe. Or even across epic routes in the USA, Australia, India, China…the world awaits! Watch this space…


Barbersride team

On a more personal note, how has your involvement with BarbersRide impacted your personal and professional growth, and what lessons have you learned from the experience?

Richie Finney of Captain Fawcett says, "To be actively involved both as a key sponsor and tour coordinator is hugely rewarding and satisfying to boot. For me personally, to see a bunch of higgledy-piggledy bikers transform their riding skills over the 6 days is remarkable. Over night on 1,000 miles, in all manner of weathers, this raggle-taggle bunch turns into finely tuned, streamlined ‘poetry in motion’, an all-for-one and one-for-all posse. It is truly a wonder to behold. There’s no high like it. Enormously uplifting and really rather moving. It’s what life long friends and true fellowships are made of and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! It’s a hard ride... but what a ride!


Meanwhile Ricki Hall, a Rider, opens up about what he’s gained from being part of BarbersRide: "I’ve had my own dance with mental health and I know getting out on the road, taking on thousand of miles with big hearted guys, is a passport to all kinds of freedom. It’s properly emotional for everyone who takes part.


I got my full bike license just to be out on the road and part of this epic experience. We’re all there for each other, but another massive part of the camaraderie is knowing we’re riding for an amazing cause. Raising funds while having the time of your life, there’s nothing else like it. A total blast and a massive privilege to give something back."


What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of going on these bike roadtrips?

Remembering his most fun and also worst memories, Colin Petrie harks back to that first experience back in 2017. He says: "It’s very hard to choose just one favourite memory. I think perhaps the final night of the first Ride though, knowing we’d completed the trip all together and raised so much money for charity. It was an amazing feeling given how far the entire event had come from its inception.


The worst memory is easy! But day one of the first BarbersRide was brutal. The rain was just horrendous and the roads were crazy. Never ridden in anything like it and if not for a sold out seminar that evening we would’ve just pulled off the road and sought shelter as it was just that bad. Rain smashing off the floor, roads slippy and dangerous and totally soaked through to the bone."


Yet when barbers and bikers are united on the road with a real sense of common purpose, the camaraderie is like nothing else. Competition is parked, BarbersRide is all about comradeship. It brings the barbering community together with a collective desire to do something good, making an impact across the UK. And that in turn boosts emotional well-being for those who take part, it’s the healthiest kind of quality time with mates and family. Life-long friendships are forged and riders return weary, yet uplifted.


So although we ride for the charity, it’s not only the charity partners who benefit. Barbers are often self-employed. It can be a lonely business. During the Ride, individuals become a community. Often far out of their comfort zones, the riders take pride in themselves and in each other. It’s a collective effort, no-one is left behind. It’s a life lesson and a powerfully positive experience.


BarbersRide is about everyone going the extra mile for each other. In fact, an extra 11,000 miles…so far.



How can people get involved and support this cause, and what kind of impact can they make by contributing to your fundraising efforts?

In 2023 we ride again. This year’s BarbersRide kicks off on August 5th until the 10th. First stop Malahide, then Londonderry, Galway, Tralee, Wexford and finishing up on the 10th in Dublin.


The full trip costs £180 per rider. Numbers are limited, so book now at barbersride.com. If you’re a barbershop wanting to host an event, submit the form at barbersride.com/contact. That applies to future riders wanting to get involved, and to sponsors too!


And you can donate at our Just Giving page. Donations this year will be split between Make-A-Wish UK and Make-A-Wish Ireland.


How will you make a difference? Susan O’Dwyer, the CEO of Make-A-Wish Ireland says: “We are delighted to be part of this amazing event. As we receive no government funding we rely entirely on the general public and events like this so that we can continue to grant wishes to children throughout the country living with a life threatening illness. We have seen a 65% increase in the number of applications over the last year and as our waiting list stands at over 250 children, we urgently need the support of fundraisers like this.”


Justin Hayzelden, Motorcycle Journalist, says: “Hitting the road with a bunch of like-minded individuals is one of the best things about biking. It’s what BarbersRide is all about. Riding with a purpose is fundamental to many a motorcyclist and it’s a testament to the enduring sense of fulfilment that so many faces return year on year and how every new one is absorbed into the BarbersRide family in an instant."


Be part of the adventure. See you on the road.


 

You can follow along the BarbersRide journey on Instagram and Facebook.

Get in touch with BarbersRide: jenna@captainfawcett.com

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