Sussex and Small Batch team up for Marathon fundraising push

Sussex and Small Batch are raising money to fight podoconiosis, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people.

Nick Barlow (left) and Alan Tomlins from Small Batch revisit their old student flat at the University of Sussex.

Alan Tomlins, one of the co-founders of Small Batch, on a coffee-buying trip.

The University of Sussex and Brighton’s Small Batch Coffee Company have teamed up to raise money for a good cause during the Brighton Marathon.

The two organisations are supporting the Preventing Podo campaign, which was set up to fund the University’s research into podoconiosis (or ‘podo’) – a debilitating disease that affects millions of people in the world’s poorest regions.

More than 100 Sussex staff, students and alumni will be running in either the Marathon or the 10K event this Sunday (9 April).

Joining the Sussex runners in the 10K will be Alan Tomlins, one of the co-founders of Small Batch, as well as the company’s Head of Digital and Marketing Nick Barlow and barista Aaron Green.

Alan and Nick first met 16 years ago as students at the University of Sussex, and Nick explains that it means a lot to be supporting his alma mater for this particular campaign.

“Podo affects people across the globe but very often in coffee growing regions and particularly in Ethiopia, the home of coffee.

“Alan has travelled to Ethiopia quite a few times to buy coffee, and it’s somewhere that’s close to our heart, so we jumped at the chance to work with Sussex on this campaign.”

The University is hoping to raise at least £50,000 to fund the work of Professor Gail Davey and her colleagues at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), the global hub for research into preventing and treating podo.

Podo causes debilitating swelling in the legs and feet of its sufferers, who become unable to work and may be ostracised from society.  In Ethiopia it leads to more than $200 million in lost productivity each year, but it is entirely preventable and treatable with the right funding.

Gail, who is Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at BSMS, explains: “We’re working with Ethiopian people to provide appropriate footwear and to teach them how to treat their swollen legs and feet.

“We’re aiming for this programme to be rolled out across Ethiopia, and everyone who donates to the Preventing Podo campaign will be helping to bring this a step closer.”

Professor Davey, who leads the University’s research into podo, is hoping to raise awareness by running the 10K race while wearing a very special costume – a giant foot.

Elsewhere, more than 40 volunteers from the University of Sussex will be manning a water station at Mile 14 of the Marathon, handing out refreshing drinks to runners.

And for those who need a lift after finishing the race, Small Batch will serving up their award-winning coffee at the Preventing Podo tent in the Marathon’s Charity Village.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 10 April 2017