Earlier this month, our COO, Martin Leonard took part in an amazing fundraising event. He was part of a three man relay team that swam the 24 mile length of Loch Lomond to raise money for the Scottish charity John Maurice Aitken Trust, which provides support for those in financial hardship.
Martin accepted the swimming challenge after attending the charity’s annual event in 2016. Inspired by stories of the people being helped, and the great feats of endurance by fundraisers and volunteers – Martin knew his challenge needed to be big! What bigger a challenge than swimming the UK’s longest body of water, a feat achieved by only a hundred or so individuals previously:
“I wanted to give them something different and do something that no one else had done for them before. I also wanted to give myself a test that was out of my comfort zone. I’ve ran marathons, cycled across countries, and jumped out of planes – so they were all out. Swimming is something I’ve never really done before, and the thought of swimming outdoors frightened the life out of me. So an outdoor swimming challenge it had to be”
So Martin swapped the office suit for a wetsuit and the hard training began:
“The training was intense and the most difficult part was the open-water training swims. It’s cold, lonely and extremely tiring – but constantly thinking of the money we’re raising, and the good cause we’re supporting kept us going.”
After all the intensive hard-work, Martin’s meeting with destiny (and a chilly Scottish loch) finally arrived – and we’re delighted to report that Martin and his Team absolutely smashed it, finishing in a time of 12 hours. On behalf of all the team at Castlight, we’re immensely proud that Martin overcame this challenge, raising an incredible £7,000 for the JMA Trust.
“I felt good on the day and I feel great now that it’s over. We raised approximately £7k, but we’d love this to increase to £10k over the next couple of months, so if anyone still wants to donate, please go to https://goo.gl/hkSnH2. We’re amazed by all the support we received, and a huge thank you to Equifax UK for funding our support boat – without it we couldn’t have completed the challenge”
Martin Leonard – The Personification of Castlight
At Castlight, we are immensely proud of Martin’s achievements, but we’re not surprised!
Martin is the epitome of everything that Castlight is and strives to be. Martin saw a chance to help people, to improve their lives and he accepted it without a second thought. He took on a challenge that required constant training, that would push him beyond his limits, and in which he could literally drown. But he overcame all obstacles and beat this challenge.
We built Castlight to overcome a challenge in the Finance sector, where financial consumers are judged to be good risks if they have an established credit file (borrowed before), but deemed to be bad risks – and often penalised – if they have no record of existing credit (never borrowed before). This upside down logic doesn’t seem fair; punishes generations of consumers (Gen Y, Gen Z), and has (most notably in the credit crunch of 2008) left many financial casualties in it’s wake.
Castlight looks at consumers beyond the “credit score”. We say – don’t look at one aspect of a consumer’s financial history – look at their entire affordability, and see them as more than a score. Our Affordability Passport and CaaS technology allows us to improve the lives of everyone who wants to apply for a mortgage, buy a car or simply improve their understanding of their own finances – because it determines ‘what they can afford’, not how much debt they’ve borrowed.
Thank you Martin for being an incredible example to us all, and a reminder of why we work so hard to make Castlight a success.
Non Executive Director