Forget 2020 festival season, join the Great British Campout for NHS staff and help raise funds COVID-19!

The fallout of COVID-19 has resulted in major events and festivals around the world being cancelled – but not the Great British Campout For NHS COVID-19. This now includes events as huge as the Olympics, plus a large number of bus shows and campervan festivals and meets. But out of nowhere, and thanks to a brilliant idea from a couple of friends, a massive new event has taken shape in just a few days and it is called the Great British Campout for NHS COVID-19 staff. Words by Alex Brown.

*UPDATE, just a few hours after this article was posted, the fundraiser passed the £50,000 mark.

The Great British Campout for NHS COVID-19 staff was one week ago, a basic idea for a group of friends to camp on their driveways at home and share a couple of pictures to break up the boredom of the quarantine which has now been enforced in the UK. At the time Brad Spelman and Ian Alcorn has no idea that within 7 days, they’ll be virtually hosting over 15,000 campers in the fundraising festival! Tell us where you are camping today, tag us on Instagram and Facebook with #advanturemagazine.

“Our initial aim was to raise £100 for NHS staff”

“Ian came up with the idea of a bit of fun, why not camp at home, amongst the group share photos and break up the boredom. Sunday night the just giving page was created, to raise £100 for NHS staff.” We spoke with Bradley on Friday evening, the night before the festival. He was busy getting last things together, and putting his official Covid-19 Campout 2020 sticker on his Volkswagen camper.

Tents setup in garden for Great British Campout for NHS staff
Anna Bolton Taylor set up on the lawn in Dorset.

Upon time of writing and now the morning of the festival weekend, the fundraiser has generated over £35,000 and the campout event page has grown to 15,000 people. Can you donate £2 for your ticket?

“Kind of oddly word spread like virus. 5 people tell 5 people each, those 25 tell five more each, those then tell …… and so one. We started to build up numbers quite quickly. Already having a stickerman (Andrew) onboard we quickly had a bumper sticker designed and up for sale. By Monday lunchtime the stickers were up to 500 or more and donations came flooding in.”

Great British Campout for NHS Ian
Ian and friends, will be camping apart this weekend for the Great British Campout for NHS staff

At a time when we are all being encouraged to self-isolate, the campout has not only generated a massive amount of money for the healthcare system in the UK but is also connecting people who are now starting to feel the effects of being socially disconnected. Campers have pledged to setup at home with BBQs, fire pits, live music and more. Vdub Radio is providing coverage for those who can tune in, so while everyone is going to essentially spent a giant Saturday night inside, they will be ultiamtely connected.

£35,000 raised for Great British Campout for NHS COVID-19 staff

Bradley and Ian needed help as the number dramatically increased. James, Rae and Colette got involved and alongside all of the team working their normal jobs, they have also pulled off the organisation of this unique event. Teaching home school, trying to get the food shops in and adhering to the tightening quarantine rules, the hard work pays off today. Unfortuantely Bradley won’t be able to camp on his driveway with his son, due being in a high-risk group. But 130 miles away, he already has been sent a photo showing his impressive pitch, setup at home with his mother.

Great British Campout for NHS staff Bradley and Ian
Bradley and son, miles apart but camping together today.

“The Great British Campout for NHS staff has helped so many people have something to look forward too this weekend. Yes it might be a bit cold, but us Brits are tough cookies, and at home I can plug a heater in haha . .”. Thanks Bradley and we’ll join you from Barcelona tonight.

The donations were not being picked up by just those with a campervan, the list was growing with people who wanted to set up a tent, get some sleeping bags out in the living room, or just build a den in the kids bedrooms! Their facebook group has some very imaginative setups, so be sure to check those out in between raiding the snack cupboard and nipping inside for the toilet over the weekend.

Be sure to download your free copy of Advanture Magazine to enjoy during the festival. We can not wait to see more pictures, and have a great evening to all those attending! AM

Subscribe now for a free digital subscription