Liam Garcia is an ambitious man – aged just 27 he has set up a Sheffield-based charity which seeks to eliminate water poverty.
The Long Well Walk started life as one man’s crazy charitable idea – to raise as much money as possible by walking 10,000 miles from Sheffield to Cape Town. Eighteen months on, the picture is a little different. The walk is still on – a two-year jaunt that Liam will set off on in April next year – but the Sheffielder is no longer working alone.
The organisation he has built up in the last year, based on Carver Street in the city centre, is going from strength to strength, after recruiting a host of ambitious volunteers.
Liam, who lives off Ecclesall Road in Sheffield, says: “It’s great to have such a good team of people working with me to make this all a reality. The charity came about because I realised I wanted to retain control of where the money I raised went – and this was the best way to do that.”
Liam is the first to admit he has a taste for adventure and that plays a big part in his plans to trek halfway across the globe. He says: “I’ve spent years travelling around North African and the Middle East. I’ve lived in North and Central America, have lived and travelled all over Europe. Travelling is something I enjoy hugely, which is important as this walk is an enormous commitment. I’ll be knocking on 30 by the time I get home to Sheffield.”
Liam’s route will now take him through 15 countries, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.
He said: “The route I will be walking has altered about four times. I was walking through Syria originally and that’s obviously now had to change. I’ve learned the importance of staying fluid and relaxed while planning, rolling with any changes.” The money raised from the walk will support communities lacking adequate water and sanitation across the sub-Saharan Africa.
Liam says: “The aim is to support one such community project in each of the countries I visit and we’re working with leaders of school boards, widow projects and slum projects in all of these countries at the moment to find out what they need from us.”
So is there a figure he would like to reach?
He says: “£55,000 would do it, Clearly that’s a lot of money, but we’ve already got £30,000, so I’m feeling positive about reaching our target. I’m really looking forward to visiting many of these communities along my walk and seeing for myself the good this money will do.”
And contributors will be able to see it too, by visiting his website and clicking to see exactly which project in which country their money has been donated to.
“The website will be how I keep in touch with the people back home while I’m out there,” says Liam.
“There will be blogs and video updates to keep people in the loop of how it’s all going. Most of the money we’ve raised so far has come from public donations and we just can’t thank these people enough, so we hope they’ll follow through to see where their money is going.”
For details or to donate, visit thelongwellwalk.org