Hackney Quest organiser Luke Billingham did a Spice Girls lip-syncathon dressed as Ginger.
Photograph: Twitter

A community effort to raise £10,000 for a much-loved local youth charity has exceeded expectations under lockdown by raising more than double that amount.

The Hackney1000 was held between 2011 and 2017 on Well Street Common, in which participants would run a total of 1,000 kilometres together to raise funds for Hackney Quest, which has worked to support the borough’s young people since 1988.

Quest hatched the idea a few weeks ago to run the Hackney1000 virtually and safely under lockdown, with people able to substitute hours of an activity if they were unable to run.

The level of excitement generated by the idea left Hackney Quest CEO Colette Allen “overwhelmed”.

She said: “We were amazed to have achieved 1,300 kilometres with our young people, staff, volunteers and friends running walking and cycling and even cartwheeling to achieve and smash our target.

“In addition, people baked, danced, exercised and danced their way to 71 hours of activity and we raised over £21,000 to support our work during this time.

“It really was very heartwarming to see how people pulled together virtually and brought positivity and a thankfulness for our Hackney Quest community.”

Allen congratulated all participants and donors who took part, from Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, who cycled the route of the Hackney Half Marathon, to young Jack, who did five press-ups, 100 burpees and 200 star jumps, to youth organiser Luke Billingham, who undertook a Spice Girls lip-syncathon while dressed as Ginger Spice.

Quest is now working to help reduce the digital divide for people living under lockdown, and is still taking donations as it delivers food, toiletries and IT equipment to families during the crisis.

It is also providing one-to-one mentoring over the phone and working with schools to coordinate support for those in need.

The charity has made an urgent call for donations of unused laptops and tablets, with many children left unable to access their schoolwork from home.

Allen added: “I was saddened to read in a report by Cape Mentors that 34 per cent of children and young people in the country have not accessed any work in the past eight weeks.

“We know this is definitely the case in Hackney and we are doing what we can with the support of the community and funders to supply as many young people as possible and so far have accessed and distributed over 30 laptops and 20 tablets.”

For more information about the work of Hackney Quest, including how to donate, head to hackneyquest.org.uk

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