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Colleagues put MIND over matter with charity challenge

Colleagues put MIND over matter with charity challenge

A group of mental health first aiders at a Derbyshire firm are putting their best feet forward to raise money for charity – notching up an incredible six million steps between them.

A team of 15 people employed by Lubrizol, in Hazelwood, began the challenge to raise money for mental health charity MIND at the start of the month.

They aim to notch up 400,000 steps each in just 100 days which will see them cover approximately 3,000 miles – the distance between Belper and Montreal, in Canada.

Every member of the team is a mental health and wellbeing first aider and in the last year they have held regular virtual wellbeing meetings, mindfulness sessions and worked one-to-one with colleagues who have reported feelings of stress, loneliness and isolation particularly during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Charlotte Hyman, who is part of the team, said: “Since 2009 around 400,000 people have trained to be mental health first aiders in the UK and we thought it would be nice to recognise this figure within our challenge.

“We wanted a task that would be accessible to all abilities and some members of staff are doing short walks every day, while others are notching up 20,000 steps in one long walk.

“I normally go to the gym, so I have decided not to include those steps in the challenge, so that we are all pushing ourselves beyond our usual routines.

“So far, we are completing the challenge individually, mostly due to Covid, but as restrictions are lifted, we hope to do some longer walks together – so we can really spur each other on.”

The first aiders hope to raise more than £500 by tackling the challenge, which is part of a company-wide initiative to raise £25,000 for MIND.

Staff at Lubrizol’s Hazelwood offices have joined forces with workers at the firm’s other UK sites to stage a series of Olympic-themed activities.

Ten people have pledged to use pedal power to clock up 100 miles each on an exercise bike, while three people will pull together to row the distance of the English Channel – 21 miles – on rowing machines and five others will attempt to swim one mile every week.

In the autumn, if Covid restrictions allow, a group of five intend to climb Snowdon, five aim to reach the summit of Ben Nevis while a further 10 climbers plan to tackle the Yorkshire Peaks – with each climb completed in the dark.

Tom Grazier, from Lubrizol's Charities and Community Committee, said: “Staff at Lubrizol are prolific fundraisers and we have no doubt that the team of mental health first aiders will support each other through this challenge, just as they have supported staff during lockdown.

“It’s been a tough 18 months for charities and also for those people who have experienced mental health difficulties, perhaps for the first time.

“This challenge enables staff to support each other, help other people and release those endorphins which are so important to keeping good mental health and general fitness.”

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