Mark’s Great Wall challenge gives Level Two youth project at Felixstowe huge funding boost

Level Two celebrate after getting a �15,000 donation. Mark Stennett presents the cheque to Shez Sout

Level Two celebrate after getting a �15,000 donation. Mark Stennett presents the cheque to Shez Southernwood. - Credit: Archant

A businessman’s gruelling nine-day challenge to cycle the route of the Great Wall of China has raised £15,000-plus for a youth project in his home town.

Mark Stennett, 50, director of logistics firm Prologic Shunting Services, rode between 50km and 100km each day for up to seven hours at punishing inclines in the mountainous region, at heights of up to 2,600ft.

The trip – part of an event run by Charity Challenge UK – raised £15,064 for Level Two in Felixstowe, which does so much unseen work in the town to reach young people and tackle issues affecting the whole community.

This was 50% more than his original target of £10,000 to help fund 10% of the project’s annual costs.

Mr Stennett, who has lived and worked in Felixstowe all his life, said he recognised the need for youth services and support in the resort as something that had been an issue for previous generations such as his own.

He stressed that today’s young people are tomorrow’s workforce and leaders and should be encouraged to participate in the town in which they live. He is passionate about Level Two’s work in providing support and services for young people and bringing the community together to help make the town a better place for all to live and work.

Mr Stennett said: “Level Two provide a fantastic service for the young people of our town. However, it costs nearly £100,000 a year to run, and with cuts to grants and allocated budgets this is harder and harder to find.

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“Level Two is a charity and relies heavily on donations from the local community to enable it to provide services for the young people of our town.

“So I decided to rise to the challenge to raise money for this great organisation that does so much unseen work in our town. I funded the trip, transport and kit myself, so that every penny of fundraising would benefit the charity.”

Shez Southernwood, Level Two project manager, said: “What a magnificent effort by Mark to raise funds for Level Two – we are so thankful to him. The money will be put towards the project’s running costs for 2015.”

She thanked all the companies in Felixstowe who offered corporate sponsorship for Mark’s challenge by buying space on his tour shirts.

She said: “We are astounded at their generosity, which has really helped boost Mark’s total.”

Level Two , based at the Youth Hub above Tesco in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, has around 630 young people attending its sessions and activities each year.

Its services for youngsters aged 10 to 25 include youth club drop-in sessions where they can enjoy fun in a secure and relaxed environment, the opportunity to take part in experiences and community events, and also access to confidential help and advice, mentoring and support from trained youth workers and volunteers.