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Al-Noor Boat Race 2023

Sunshine, stiff competition and a whole lot of splashin’ is what the Al-Noor Annual Boat Race is all about.  Whether you’re a sinker or swimmer, we want you on our crew, and ready to race.

The Al-Noor Dragon Boat Race at Fairlop Waters aims to unite the community by bringing together charitable organisations for a dose of fast racing and fundraising.  No experience is necessary – get involved simply by registering, fundraising and taking part.

Sign up now!

Open to men and women

Registration Fee: £10

Fundraising Target: £250 (Minimum)

Age restrictions: 12 years+

What is the Al Noor Boat Challenge?

The Al-Noor Annual Boat Race is an event which has been established by the Al-Noor Foundation in the Summer of 2018, at Fairlop Waters in the London Borough of Redbridge.

The event is open to all schools, faith groups, charities and corporate organisations. The event aims to unite the community whereby individuals, families and organisations have the opportunity to raise money for charitable causes which are close to their hearts, by simple registering for a boat and participating in the race.

The boats are segregated, so either all-women participants or all-men, and each gender participates in separate heats/rounds.  Each boat requires 17 people to participate and row to compete against 3 other charities/boats of the same gender in each heat/round. There are also 3 additional places for reserves/subs.  Normally, each charity will participate in a minimum of two heats. The fastest teams in each heat/round are then shortlisted to participate against the top teams in the men and women’s semi-final and final.

Why a Boat Race?

Boat races are part of the heritage of British culture and an amazing way to unite both competitors and communities together behind a common cause. Dragon Boat racing is something which is growing in popularity in the UK, originating from Southern China’s Guangdong Province. The boats we will be using can accommodate up to 17 riders at a time and will be provided by a specialist Dragon Boat company which the Foundation has partnered up with to run the event.

Where is it taking place?

Fairlop Waters Country Park is the largest country park and leisure facility, located in the London Borough of Redbridge. It is easily accessible from the M25, via the A12, also from the city of London, via the A11 and A12. It is also conveniently positioned for ease of transport via the Central Line to Fairlop and Barkingside stations, which are only a short walk to the complex. Fairlop sailing lake offers attractive surroundings to participate in activities or just relax and watch the fun. The thirty-eight-acre sailing lake with two large islands offers opportunities for a variety of activities including windsurfing and sailing.

The full address is: Fairlop Waters, Forest Road Barkingside, Essex, IG6 3HN

How can I take part?

Simply sign up, and your ready-made page on our leaderboard will be created, set your target and spread the word far and wide! The only essential is to let everyone know you’re taking on this challenge for a great cause, so they can donate and support you like the HHUGS Hero you are!

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, the registration is £10 and contributes towards the registration cost for the charity to hire the boat. Spectators can attend for free.

How much do I need to fundraise?

We ask all participants to fundraise a minimum of £250. We are confident however that with a little effort, that this will be easily achievable.

Is there an age restriction?

The minimum age for participants is 12 years +

Do I need any previous experience? Will you offer training beforehand?

No previous experience in dragon boat racing is needed. Each team will be inducted on the day before the races start.

Given the growing popularity and competitive nature of the challenge, over the years there has been a demand from participants to have training pre-event. Subject to availability and demand, we will be able to book training sessions but we will require a minimum of 14 participants to confirm for a particular training date. We will provide more details about available dates and times. Training is likely to take place at a dragon boat racing centre in Docklands, E16.  If these sessions are fully booked we may be able to source training centres in other areas of London. Training ensures that participants can learn the technique and be in sync as a team, so it definitely makes you a more effective rower and makes for a stiffer competition on the day! Trainers recommend 3-4 sessions for new teams to be in sync.  However, please do note that training is not mandatory – we have had participants attend without training before and for us the main purpose is the taking part and having fun on the day!

How can I get there?

By train
Barkingside station is the nearest station (Central & Elizabeth Line), which is a 1 minute walk. It is also a short walk from Fairlop station (Central Line).

By car
There will be car park facilities available on the day. It is easily accessible from the M25, via the A12.

By Bus

Line Name  Direction

  • 462 –  Ilford
  • 169 – Barking
  • 247 – Romford Station
  • N8 – Hainault, the Lowe
  • 150 – Chigwell Row
  • 167 – Loughton
  • 275 – Barkingside
  • 667 – West Hatch School
  • 677 – Debden

The nearest stops are:

  • Barkingside Station (U) 6 min walk
  • Barkingside Station (S) 6 min walk
  • Fairlop Waters (W) 9 min walk
  • Fullwell Cross (A) 21 min walk

Who can take part?

Men and women, over 13 years+. The event is also free for spectators to attend so bring your friends and family to watch and cheer you on!

How fit do I need to be? Do I need to be able to swim?

No participants do not need to know how to swim. Every participant will be given a life jacket to wear and you will be receive a full health and safety briefing. People of all fitness levels are welcome to the challenge. If you have any medical conditions, please consult your doctor before you register.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing and footwear.  Rest assured, for female participants, they can complete the race in an abaya/jilbab and niqab if they so wish. We also recommend you bring waterproofs as you will probably get wet. We will provide a HHUGS t-shirt for every participant to wear and will have a range of sizes available on the day. Please apply plenty of sun cream as it will usually be a hot summer’s day and participants have experienced sun-burn before.

Will lunch be provided? Are other refreshments available?

HHUGS will not be providing lunch for participants but there will be many food stalls available on the day. There is usually an option to pre-order your food in advance to help avoid the queues. More information will be sent out to you prior to the race.

Are there toilets on site?

Yes there are toilets on site.

Will there be an area to perform prayer?

Yes, there will be an area to pray dhuhr and asr.

What’s in it for me?

There are many benefits to dragon boat racing!

People of all fitness levels can participate and the longer you do it, the fitter you’ll become.

It’s a whole-body workout — your legs are the anchor, while the muscles in your arms, shoulders and back drag the paddle through the water.

It’s also great for strengthening your abs and core.

It helps to build your cardiovascular fitness — your endurance and stamina will quickly build.

Physical activity also supports your mental well-being. It can reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem, reduce stress and build a greater sense of calm. As believers, we should look after our mind as well as our body.

Pushing out of your comfort zone and achieving – it’s quite probable that you have never participated in a dragon boat race before so this gives you an opportunity to try out something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone on the water.

The Boat Race also provides the perfect opportunity for you to meet up with friends, family and loved ones and enjoy a great summer’s day out!

And above all, you will have the satisfaction and hope in the reward you will be attaining by supporting families in need, often overlooked by the community, right here in the UK.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason, every day, charity is due on each of our joints. Charity is not a burden or obligation on us, it is a privilege and a responsibility. When we have been blessed by Allah, the best way to show gratitude to Him is by using those same blessings to help others.

Charity invites untold blessings into your own life and protects you from so many hardships you weren’t even aware you were saved from. Allah loves those who serves others so rowing to relieving the burdens of the brothers and sisters right on our doorstep.

You may not have huge sums of money to give, but this challenge provides a golden opportunity for any individual to make a difference – whether you’re blessed with disposable income or otherwise.

What is also amazing about fundraising is that you’ll be rewarded for whatever your friends donate, without decreasing in their reward in the least.

“Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practices that good action.” [Bukhari].

What happens to the money I raise?

The money you raise will help provide pastoral, practical and financial support to families who need it most – women, children and elderly parents of detainees, whose lives have been shattered following the trauma of a raid.

At HHUGS, we know raids can literally tear families apart. That’s why we’re here, helping families whose lives have been devastated by detention to find their feet amidst the chaos, at a time when the rest of the community have often abandoned them. Every penny raised by competitors like you will allow sisters like Nazia to keep a roof over her head and will mean her children don’t go hungry.

“HHUGS came and picked me up at a time when I really thought I would end up sitting outside a branch of Tesco begging. Once I left the hostel, I feared I would wind up homeless and it was exactly then when HHUGS came and stood by me with the support I needed. Their support means I can keep a roof over my head, pay my council tax and cover my grocery expenses with monthly shopping vouchers. If you truly want to store great reward for your hereafter, come together to support HHUGS in every way you possibly can.”

HHUGS is the only UK registered charity currently supporting over 225 families – that’s more than 750 individuals. Every penny raised in taking part in this challenge will allow us to support some of the most isolated families in the UK, vulnerable women, children and the elderly, who have been ostracised and stigmatised by society.

Your fundraising can transform lives

£50 could unite children with their father by facilitating a prison visit or provide a secondary school child with stationery for the year.
£100 could pay for a family’s utility bills.
£165 could help a child stand tall on the first day of term.
£250 could provide food and basic necessities for a sister and her children for a month
£500 could protect a family from eviction and provide them with a roof over their head, security and protection from the elements.
£1000 could alleviate the debts that a family struggle to pay.

Jazaakum Allahu khaira for signing up. You will make a huge difference to the lives of people.

I have never fundraised before, where do I start?

Easy. Your fundraising page will be set up automatically when you register and will be added to our very own leaderboard system!

Once you’ve set your target, share the page with your friends, family and colleagues. It’ll have all the details of the challenge you’re taking on – and allows people to sponsor you and donate straight to HHUGS, quickly and easily online.

£250 may seem daunting at first, but it’s really as simple as getting 25 friends to donate £10.

If that’s a breeze, you can set your heights on a higher target – £500 or £1000 – easily achieved with just 20 friends donating £50.

Many novice fundraisers have doubted they could raise £250 but with sincere intentions, du’a and the help of Allah they went to raise £1000 in the space of a few days. Some went on to smash the target by raising £5000 or £10000!! So never underestimate what you can achieve!

We’re on hand to support and encourage you at every stage, and if you’re not a confident wordsmith, we can even provide template messages for you to share if you’re short of ideas. Remember to use all means at your disposal to share your page – WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and SMS. Some even made videos to encourage people, and got their parents and children to compete with them in the process! Whether you’re a novice or an experienced fundraiser, this method is tried and tested.

Here are a few tips:

Fundraising pages are just like paper sponsorship forms, except they’re online, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with cash, cheques and chasing sponsors after the event is finished. You could even create your own fundraising team to help you spread the word!

Level up your profile – Add an image, complete your story and set your event date.

Kick-start your fundraising by donating to yourself. It’s a great way to begin your fundraising!

Set a target: Aim high and keep your friends and family updated on how close you are to reach your goal! Once you’ve reached your initial target, don’t be afraid to increase it! People are usually willing to keep giving, despite you raising the target a number of times. Remember, the more you raise, the more families can be supported!

Spread the word. Once your page has been created you can share it with your contacts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. You can also share it via a SMS message, e-mailing your contacts, or sending a WhatsApp and Telegram broadcast to your friends and family. Don’t forget to share it on any groups that you’re on.

You can also share it on your story on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

Change your profile picture on all your social media platforms to our very own fundraiser avatar. You can even add it to your email signature! And of course don’t forget the old fashioned way of speaking to friends and family on the phone too!

Let everyone know when the countdown to your challenge has begun by using our social media badges and sharing your page on your social media channels.

Use social media to promote your walk through status updates, posting photos as your train, or undertake your walk, making videos, sending messages. Encourage others to join you if it’s safe to do so and you’re in a group of six!

Think of fun ways to help donations roll in and the hours will fly by.

Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask for tips from other fundraisers on our WhatsApp groups or asking staff for ways to energise donors if you find you’re getting stuck.

Here are some other ways to help:

Get your fundraising matched by a colleague, workplace or friend·

Contact your local press and radio stations with your fundraising·

Contact local businesses for their support by asking them to sponsor you·

We can send you a Charity Collection Penny Box which you can place at home or work if you’re back in the office, and even at the till of your local take away (with permission!). Order yours now at hhugs.org.uk/pennybox.

Even if a lot of events have ceased, you can still contact your ISOC, School, Scouts groups and others to get involved to support your fundraising.

Remember, HHUGS are here to help so you can kick start your fundraising!

What if I’m not Social Media Savvy?

Not being active on social media doesn’t mean you can’t take part. Those traditional methods of direct fundraising served us well for many years and still work wonders. We will set you up with everything you need from the get go and even provide a penny box upon request (just call 0207 733 2104 or email [email protected]). Download our Fundraising Toolkit for a complete A-Z of fundraising idea and simple steps that will help you achieve fundraising success.

How do I send you the money from my fundraising page?

You don’t have to do anything. We receive it automatically when people donate online.

Can I fundraise offline?

Of course, you can. If people have given you your sponsor money in cash, or made a bank transfer to you, and you want us to add this to your page, simply pay it in yourself. Alternatively, you can simply click “Add cash donation” and we’ll be in touch to verify your offline donation before it is added to your page. You can send a cheque (with the reference Boat Race + Your name) with your completed sponsorship form to:

4th floor
43 Berkeley Square,

What is Gift Aid and does it really matter?

Make every £1 worth 25p more at no extra cost to you. It’s just a little box to tick but Gift Aid makes a huge difference when it comes to how much money we can raise to support families in the need right here in the UK.

To be eligible to add Gift Aid to your donation, you must be a UK taxpayer and understand that if you pay less income tax and/or capital gains tax then the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all donations made in that tax year it’s your responsibility to pay any difference. The government will give a further 25% of your donation to the charity, and it doesn’t cost you or your sponsors a thing.

This option will be there on your fundraising page, but if you could mention it to your sponsors, you could help raise much more money to support families torn apart by national security measures. Find out more about Gift Aid here.

What if I can’t reach my target?

At HHUGS we’ve seen many challengers, supporters and volunteers achieve great feats despite their initial self-doubt. That’s why we’re confident that with a bit of effort, with the help of Allah (swt) and thereafter our support, you will surpass your own expectations.

However, if you try your best but can’t reach your target (and we doubt this will be the case) then all is far from lost. You still walk away with the rewards of your intentions, your efforts and whatever amount you do manage to raise.

“Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, Allah will record it as a complete good deed.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

So aim high with pure intentions, say ‘Bismillah’ and tie your camel by giving it your best effort, then leave the rest to Allah (swt). You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, in sha’ Allah!

What should I do if I’ve forgotten my username and password?

Click here https://www.hhugs.org.uk/my-account/lost-password/ if you’ve forgotten your password on our sign up page. Follow the instructions on the email you receive to reset your password.

Still having trouble? Please contact us at [email protected] for help logging into your account.

What if I no longer want to take part?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected] or calling us on 0207 733 2104 if you can no longer take part. We regret that we will not be able to refund registration fees or anyone who has already donated to support you.


8th July 2023
Free – £10.00


Fairlop Waters
Fairlop Waters
London, Essex IG6 3HN United Kingdom
+ Google Map
020 8500 9911


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