January 12, 2022

24-hour ‘Speak-Up’ Live-a-thon returns!

The event coincides with Blue Monday to highlight the importance of communication and community in combatting mental health concerns.

The ‘Speak-Up’ Live-a-thon is returning for it’s second year to raise money for us and to support the local community through the so-called most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday. Starting at 12am on the morning of 17th January Alex Hughes, the Cambridgeshire-based entrepreneur behind the small business community Shifties, will stream for 24-hours non-stop. Alex will be joined by small business owners, mental health experts, community leaders and members of the local community with other fundraising activities happening throughout the whole of January as part of the ‘Speak-Up’ campaign.

After an incredibly challenging 2020, Alex came up with the idea of hosting a 24-hour live-a-thon to combat negative thinking and to focus on stories of resilience and survival – for both businesses and individuals – and to explore why communication and a supportive community is so important. The ‘Speak-Up’ Live-a-thon 2021 proved to be a huge success with 35 speakers, over 20,000 views on the live stream and over £4500 raised for us.

Aly Anderson, our CEO said “I was delighted to be involved in the Shifties Speak Up event. It provided a fantastic platform for positivity and resilience during challenging times, creating opportunities to give to others by sharing stories, experiences and wellbeing tips. We are extremely grateful to Shifties for creating the opportunity to help raise funds for our charity.”

A year on we are still in the midst of the pandemic facing continued challenging and unprecedented times so, the Shifties Community have decided to bring this positive and uplifting event back for 2022. Alex said “I think it is dangerous to have a day labelled the most depressing day of the year, without there being positive action taking place to combat it, Speak Up gives anyone that has access to social media 24 hours of unique stories and content that will give the viewers reason to be excited about the year ahead.”

The ‘Speak-Up’ Live-a-thon 2022 is set to be even bigger and better than before and will not only include the 24-hour live stream on 17th January, but will also include fundraising activities throughout the week such as a charity football match hosted by Mental Health Advocate, Jamie Archer and a walking challenge hosted by Steve Whitney and Justin Leigh of Walk and Talk 4 Men whereby they aim to walk a cumulative of 874 miles over the course of the week with 18 of their members.

Special guests joining the Live-a-thon include Danielle Bridge the Founding Director of ABC Life Support CIC, Jamala Osman the TedX speaker and social entrepreneur, small business owners from Cambridgeshire plus our own representatives making up the 30 plus guests joining the stream.

The event is hoping to raise £10,000 for us to help support people with mental health concerns, and their families across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire.


Join in the fun

The event is open for anyone to join and will be hosted via shifties.co.uk/speakup22. Alex & guests will encourage the audience to share their concerns and questions in the live feed, whilst hearing real stories of people’s lives and businesses. There will be opportunity to interact with the guests, prizes to be won to encourage donations and buckets of inspiration to drive a message of positivity. You can find a full schedule of all of the fundraising activities happening throughout the month and how you can get involved at shifties.co.uk/speakup22.


Support for small business owners

Shifties is a platform that focuses on supporting the growth of small businesses in the area, providing business owners with opportunities to connect, learn and grow together. The entrepreneurial efforts are aimed at creating growth opportunities for those that engage with it, social impact in the local economy and support for the next generation of entrepreneurs.


Alex Hughes, founder of Shifties, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy, but this past year has placed huge pressures on the people building them. Running a business can feel lonely – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right support network, your chances of success grow tenfold. The ‘Speak Up’ Live-a-thon aims to reverse the traditional doom and gloom associated with Blue Monday and show how good communication and the support of a community can make running a business fun, whilst also increasing your potential to grow. If your situation is getting you down, our message is simple: speak up – you are not on your own!”


The ‘Speak Up’ Live-a-thon runs from 12am until 11:59pm on 17th January, running for 24 hours straight.

Tune in to the event & more info: www.shifties.co.uk/speakup

Donate: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shifties-speakup

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