Young woman with Down’s syndrome takes on the 2.6 Challenge to raise funds for Strawberry Field

7th May, 2020

Lauren, 19, is taking on the 2.6 challenge by learning to ride her bike, so that she can complete 2.6 miles in aid of the Strawberry Field Steps to Work programme, run by The Salvation Army in Liverpool.

When Lauren was born 19 years ago, she was clinging to life by a thread. Her doctors doubted she would survive the night, let alone enjoy quality of life. Since then Lauren has consistently defied expectation but the one thing she has not been able to do is learn to ride a bicycle. Now, during this time of lockdown, she is determined to do so, whilst raising money for the amazing work The Salvation Army are doing at Strawberry Field.

Many fundraising events in the UK have been postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2.6 Challenge was created as a way to support charities who will miss out on vital funds. Whilst there is hope that many of these events will go ahead at a later date, many charities across the UK have been left struggling to maintain their services.

In 2019, the iconic red gates of Strawberry Field opened to the public for the very first time. The new centre includes a visitor exhibition, community café, shop, gardens and - at its heart – the ‘Steps to Work’ programme, which continues the legacy of caring for young people in the local community. All profits from the vibrant visitor experience help fund the Steps to Work programme, with further support for the programme coming through public fundraising activities, volunteering, sponsoring a trainee or the offering of work placements.

The Strawberry Field Steps to Work programme reaches out to young adults aged 18-25 with learning difficulties or other barriers to employment through a training hub on the lower ground floor of the new Strawberry Field centre, in conjunction with work placements across the city of Liverpool.  Nationally, opportunities are limited and only between 6% and 7% of working age adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment. Steps to Work broaches these obstacles for every young person they work with, supporting them to reach their full potential. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we work and be more creative with our resources and the Strawberry Field Steps to Work team have continued to work from home, re-imagining the programme as ‘Steps from Home’ until a return to site is possible.

Each day, Lauren goes out on her bike with her dad, while mum is keeping a video log for supporters to follow along and see her progress. Lauren has exceeded her initial target of £1000 and she now hopes to raise even more for this worthy cause!

For more information on how you can support Lauren, visit her Just Giving page here:

“The plan to open Strawberry Field to the public for the first time - so people can see a unique exhibition about the home, how and why the song was written by John, and allow visitors to explore the grounds as John did as a child - is very exciting.”

Lady Judy Martin OBE