Run by Martin Mills, Beggars Group announced the fundraising initiative in August, targeting a figure of £200,000 to be split between the PRS Foundation and the US-based Sweet Relief Music Fund.
Donations to the PRS Foundation will contribute to a programme supporting black musicians and professionals in the UK. Sweet Relief Music Fund’s portion of the funds will go towards musicians and industry professionals affected by Covid-19 in America.
With donations still open, Redding completed the swim earlier this month and has spoken to Music Week about the fundraising effort. Read our Q&A below.
How important is it that Beggars Group is organising fundraising efforts like this one?
“It is very important. We have always had a very active Charity Committee, both in terms of donations and fundraising initiatives, and that activity has increased dramatically in this year of need. I decided to register to swim the Channel in September last year for a slot in the summer of 2021 knowing that all slots for 2020 were already filled. Due to travel restrictions around the pandemic, a slot became available this year. I had originally intended to do it ‘under the radar’, but with everything going on in the world and talking it through with Martin [Mills], we felt it would be a missed opportunity if there was not a charity element to the swim. We are a global company and I wanted to support charities in both the US and UK. The choice was very straightforward. The US charity focused on musicians affected by the pandemic. In the UK, Joe Frankland from PRS Foundation had contacted us about a programme they were launching later this year and we wanted to support that in any event and thought the swim would be a good way to get some early eyes on what they were trying to do. Joe and his team also helped us with the fundraising logistics.”
We are a global company and I wanted to support charities in both the US and UK
Paul Redding, Beggars Group
Has the response made you feel optimistic for the rest of the year and beyond?
“It has been heartening to see so many people contributing to this from across the industry, and it’s heartening to see such widespread support for sectors in real need. Conversations and action surrounding diversity and opportunity are so important, and need to be front and centre from now on, individually, within companies and on an industry-wide level. People have come together and I am optimistic that will continue and real change will result.”
How do you feel now the challenge is completed?
“Relieved! I have learnt that a slightly unusual challenge does garner attention and it is important now to keep this particular fundraising open for a couple more weeks and then continue to work with both Sweet Relief and the PRS Foundation through this year and next.”
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