The #mentalhealthmile has been organised to offer a one mile event in the local park, each month; to encourage people of all abilities of fitness to get together and run, walk and talk. It's particularly aimed at those who don't do much exercise or wish to start and those who may need support and encouragement. Mental fitness is the objective and by using exercise, group work and the safe environment of a traffic-free park we are enabling the more vulnerable in the community to come along and try something new.
I run the group, the idea for the event, came from my setting up a beginners running group LegItLancaster in 2015; to encourage people who need support or who lack confidence to start doing either the Couch to 5k programme or just to get outside and socialise. The mile event is a way for some of those people to enter an acheivable event for the first time ever and get a medal as a further incentive. I personally get referrals from the mental health crisis team and other local mental health units for people who lack confidence and need some kind of structure, routine and exercise in their recovery and to aid mental fitness. All my groups are very inclusive and accesible on all levels.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
The mile event and the medal received has had a great deal of impact on many local peoples lives already. The entrants have overwhelming support from our group of volunteers and the satisfaction of doing something like this in public and earning a medal has proven to be a huge positive step for some. This is an event that goes from strength to strength and we are now in the process of setting up a replica event in Morecambe. The first mile event had 30 people now it has over 150 each time. As with any event there are costs, simply to keep the event going we would love to be able to buy some medals in bulk as a way of keeping people involved and incentivised, up to now I have been using up medals that a local race director had donated to the cause but we have run out, hence this funding application.
"I have attended Louise’s regular Mental Health Mile event, and the enthusiasm, warmth and encouragement she gives to the broad ability range of participants is impressive. The growing attendance at the event is testament to Louise’s skills in engagement as well as her commitment. The improvement (and evident sense of achievement) in participants reflects the positive personal impact that Louise has on individuals. Louise’s use of medals as recognition of participants’ efforts is fantastic for their self esteem and also as a strategy to reinforce exercise habits.
Deputy Head of Operations with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health Network"