Students are refusing to donate money towards Virgin as part of their “Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5” campaign due to the organisations past dealings with the NHS.
The campaign, which has made over £5.1 million for the NHS, urges people to run a 5K and then donate £5 to the “NHS Charities Together”.
However, people have taken to social media to complain about the charity event after raising some of the disputes that Virgin owner Richard Branson has had with the NHS in the past.
In an open letter to employees posted on his Twitter account, Branson defended his companies dealings with the NHS.
He said: “ Virgin has invested more than £75 million into the NHS. Virgin has never and will never take a penny out of the NHS.”
The challenge, which had been praised by many for encouraging participants to be active, had become one of the most popular lockdown challenges.
It prompted thousands of people to take to social media and compare their times for the 5,000 metres run.
BCU student Shannon Dolby, who completed the 5K challenge praised the active element of the run.
She said: “It was good in encouraging people to get out and use the exercising time to complete a really difficult run.”
However, she claimed that she didn’t donate to Virgin and instead chose to give directly to an NHS charity.
“A friend of mine told me about the stories with Virgin and I had heard some stories on social media about them keeping some of the money so I decided to donate directly to an NHS just giving page,” she said.
In contrast, another BCU student encouraged others to take part in the challenge and donate to Virgin.
Nathan Sunderland, 20, spoke highly of the physical benefits of the challenge.
He said: “Not only is it a good way to raise money to support the NHS, but it is also a really beneficial thing to get outside and get active. Getting active will improve your physical health and in my opinion, your mental health.”
A statement on the Virgin website said: “We’re the only platform that allows donors to cover 100% of a charity’s fundraising fees and because we process Gift Aid free of charge, if the donor covers a charity’s fees, they receive 100% of the donation, plus the Gift Aid, entirely fee-free.”