A few years ago, Simon Vincent, now of FIS, and Tony Foreman of Ancoa were on their normal train commute – from Kent in southeast England to the City of London. They decided to lighten up their journey by checking on Google Maps to see how far they were actually travelling. They started to think about forgoing their daily trip on a crowded train for just one day and walking the 36 miles instead. And, thus, Futures for Kids’ (FFK) Walk to Work was born.
The first Walk in 2011 featured one 36-mile route from Kent to London, starting at 6 a.m. and hosting 29 walkers. This first event raised £48,000 and was followed by Walks in 2012, 2013 and 2015, resulting in over £225K being raised for FFK charities.
David Setters, a founding FFK trustee, explained the challenges of putting on an event like Walk to Work. “Once you are seen to be organising an event, you have to undertake risk assessments and make sure various health and safety requirements are in place. We work closely with our charities, which help us plan the routes and man the checkpoints with other FFK volunteers. Then we seek sponsors to cover various costs and we are amazed at the support we get from the industry.”
In recent years, the routes have changed, with the start points being in or near four parks on the outskirts of London – Greenwich Park, Clapham Common, Regent’s Park and Victoria Park. Walkers can choose their start point, distance and starting time from a menu. “The registration form may look complicated,” says Setters, “but it gives potential walkers the opportunity to choose from a strenuous 12-hour, 36-mile hike to a gentle 10-mile stroll in the afternoon. All the routes end up at a City venue where participants can celebrate their achievements together and meet representatives of the supported charities.”
“As with other FFK activities, the idea is to give something back,” continued Setters. “You look at our business and it has gone through some difficult times recently. However, over the years, it has done fantastically well and many in the futures community around the world have been very generous with their cash and their time in supporting our amazing charities.”
The event has been supported by the FIA and the ACI, representing the foreign exchange community, for several years. For the 2016 Walk, which took place on Friday May 13, CME Group sponsored the Finish Line party along with the Event Awards, while ICAP supported the all-important checkpoints. Kite Consulting was the lead sponsor of the Walk T-shirt, which was also backed by Cinnober.
The sponsors were joined by teams of walkers, which included representatives of Trading Technologies, FIS (formerly SunGard), Fidessa, Eurex, EEX, NASDAQ NLX, LSE Group, Deutsche Bank and FC Stone over the years. “There is a fabulous community spirit on the day,” said Setters. “Participants put aside the competitive elements of the business and focus on FFK’s original goal of the futures and options industry: putting something back into the community and making lives easier for children in far less fortunate situations than ourselves. “
For more information on Futures For Kids’ Walk to Work 2016, please visit their website.