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Lancaster’s RAG group held their annual RAG Week in Week Six, hosting events across campus and further afield to raise money for charity.
The week’s events began with a gig at the Yorkshire House on Sunday of Week Five, featuring student bands Jo Gillett, Home Made Lemonade and headliners Guernica. A stall was set up in Alexandra Square during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday where students could buy RAG Bands and participate in a tombola and lucky dip. Following this, RAG members sold glowsticks at the Carleton on Wednesday, organised bag packing at Sainsbury’s on Friday and held a street collection in Lancaster on Saturday.
One of the biggest fundraisers was the sale of RAG Bands. Costing £3.50, they entitled the wearer to a variety of deals donated by local businesses, from free drinks at Cuba to a £15 cut and blow dry at Jo and Cass. Throughout Weeks Five and Six, over 500 were sold.
“There were lots of good deals, loads of people said they’d really enjoyed them,” said RAG President Emily Campbell. “The RAG Bands were a good way to make money because it’s a way for people to give something and get something back.”
As yet the money is still being counted, but the group have raised at least £2,500 and are hoping that their final event, an inter-college quiz night on Sunday, will push them over £3,000. This will be split equally between RAG’s three chosen charities. For 2009 they are Water Aid, a charity dedicated to providing clean water to all; Scope, which raises money for people in the UK with cerebral palsy; and Derian House, a children’s hospice in Chorley.
“The week’s been really successful,” said Ms. Campbell. “We’ve had some great events. The Carleton was a really fun way of making money, we sold nearly all our glowsticks, and we made over £240 bag packing. I think we’ve really raised the profile of RAG this year.”
In addition to raising as much money for their charities as they can, the group’s aim for the week was to increase awareness of RAG and attract new members. “We’re quite a small group compared to some universities, though we’ve had a big push on Facebook and got some new members at Refreshers’ Fair,” said Jenni Wright, the group’s Publicity Officer. “If anyone was thinking about joining RAG I’d say they should definitely do it. It’s not just about raising money, it’s about having fun and going on socials too.”
Vice-President Sam Potts added: “You can just help when you can, it doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment, and it’s a chance to do stuff you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to.”
The group meet every two weeks to discuss upcoming events and decide which charities will benefit. “We always have three, one local, one national and one international,” said Ms Wright. “People give presentations about charities they think we should fundraise for and then we vote, it’s not the exec who decide. I think people don’t always realise that if there’s a charity they feel passionately about they can get us to support it.”
Although RAG Week is the main event in the group’s calendar they have several others coming up: they are planning a possible bungee jump next term and will be participating in Lancaster’s Beerfest at the Town Hall in Week Eight.