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dash for darts blog – Sophy

Our head of Fundraising & Development shares her reasons for running

Sophy Sylvester is Director (Fundraising & Development) at darts, as well as being Deputy CEO. Hear more about why she’s taking part in dash for darts this year.

How did you first get involved with darts?

I got the job as Arts Development Manager with responsibility for Neighbourhoods in May 2009 – my role has changed a little over the years!

What does darts mean to you?

Working at darts has given me the opportunity to develop in ways I never imagined. I didn’t realise that I enjoyed fundraising so much but have been able to pursue this and really expand my expertise in this area. I have also been encouraged to take on a leadership role and support the development of the organisation and our team, which is hugely fulfilling.

I love the fact that we can work hard at our desks, writing applications to secure funds to continue delivering creative opportunities for Doncaster residents, and then go downstairs at The Point and see artists delivering fantastic activities with participants who tell us what a huge impact participating has made on their lives.

 Can you tell us more about why you wanted to get involved in dash for darts?

It’s really important that as a member of staff at darts, I do what I can to raise the profile of the excellent work that we do and the impact that we make. Running 10k to raise money to help continue our work feels like a great thing to do, and it’s lovely to do that with a team of colleagues, trustees and artists. I’m really keen to encourage members of the community or businesses to raise money for darts too, so this is a way of showing our passion and getting others involved in supporting a valuable local cause.

 When and why did you first take up running?

I hate running, but it’s the only exercise that I can just about fit round work and family! I started around 6-ish years ago with the Couch to 5k app (which I recommend to everyone!) and couldn’t believe it when I actually managed my first 5k. I run to clear my head, keep fit and also to multi-task and exercise the dog.

 How are you finding training and feeling about the Doncaster City 10k?

I’m really struggling. I ran the Round Sheffield Run last year and found it a real challenge, which put me off a bit and meant that I stopped running so regularly. I hit 47 in December and running has become really painful – piriformis syndrome makes the Sheffield hills extra hard, and I don’t seem to have got my lung capacity back after having Covid. I’m also finding it difficult to fit the runs into my busy timetable – I’m trying to get three regular runs in to improve my stamina before increasing the distance, but this currently feels a bit impossible. In a bid to stop myself moaning and start feeling more positive about running, I have forked out for some new trainers (long overdue, and may possibly stop running being so painful!) and am trying to squeeze 10 minute yoga sessions into my lunchtimes (although I have only managed one so far!). I know I’ll do it, and am trying to be kind to myself, but I hope it gets a bit easier soon.

 If you could share any messages for darts’ audience and dash for darts sponsors, what would it be?

I’m aware that with the cost of living crisis, it might be difficult for people to donate, but I’d encourage you to have a look at the impacts of our work and people’s stories on our website and to give whatever you feel able to support our work into the future. If you know darts well and have come along to our sessions at The Point or in communities, you could raise sponsorship on our behalf – whether by running, or something else. We have a useful guide to community fundraising on our website so do have a look and get in touch.

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