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Moving Forward Together: Yorkshire 3 Peaks Manchester Mind Challenge

With longer daylight hours and the emergence of sunshine, Manchester Mind are embarking on another epic fundraising journey. On 28th June, our brave staff and volunteers will complete one of England’s toughest walking challenges, the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  With this years’ Mental Health Awareness Week theme of Movement: moving for our mental health, we caught up with some members of the walking team to find out more about their challenge in aid of local mental health services….

‘Welcome and Access’ Service Manager Tara Kinsella has been instrumental in organising the challenge….

We’ve chosen the Three Peaks as a team fundraising challenge because quite a few of us are keen hikers and often speak about the benefits to our physical and mental health.  Knowing this, we arranged a social hike last year which was well attended and really enjoyable. It was a great opportunity to chat outside of the constraints of the working day and connect on more personal level too. A couple of us had done competitive/challenge hiking before, and during that walk, the idea of the fundraising hike was born.

We are proud to have an excellent work culture at Manchester Mind. We believe it is really important to foster positive workplace relationships…we spend a lot of time together after all!  A safe and supportive environment makes overcoming work-related issues easier and offers invaluable peer support. This challenge is an opportunity to celebrate and highlight that. It is also an opportunity to have fun on a lovely social outing, whilst raising vital funds.

Walking and being out in nature can have such a positive impact. It can boost mood and improve self-esteem. It is easier to focus less on anxiety and negative thoughts when concentrating on breathing and climbing up. Hiking in a group also reduces social isolation; spending hours on the trail leaves plenty of opportunity to talk and to listen.

‘Data Services Officer’ Craig Almond is an avid hiker and enjoys walks with charity colleagues….

Googling “the mental health benefits of walking” brings up many studies which evidence how exercise can reduce stress and change sleep patterns. You don’t need to walk too far, nor head to the open countryside. If you’ve got a local green space (playing field, park, patch of wasteland, canal side) spending a few minutes walking there two or three times a week can start to lift the spirits.

From my own experience, walking gives me space to think through problems at my own pace and in my own time. Breaking thought patterns offers me new perspectives. It’s a place to notice sounds, sights (and smells). Walking with others (be it friends, family or complete strangers) is also a great way to share new experiences, open up conversations and feel good.

‘Training Manager’ Danielle Partington discusses the mental barriers when facing such a monumental challenge…

From the get go, I’ve put pressure on myself to “prepare” for this charity challenge, to join a gym, get the right gear and practice longer walks, but what no one tells you is how hard that first step is. Walking 25 miles in one day is daunting – I might not be ready, where do I even start, what’s enough preparation?

I just take a breath and remember the reasons why I’ve taken on this challenge; the very real impact of donations raised for Manchester Mind and how time in nature has supported my own wellbeing. When feeling low, a good hill walk clears my mind. I love a bird’s eye view, it’s enough to put a smile on my face just thinking about it.

We’ve been preparing for 28 June with some social walks to build connections ahead of the day. Talking with people and feeling connected builds your motivation. You feel much more prepared for any challenge. There will be a buzz of excitement as we get closer to the big day, when team spirit will absolutely be the driving force! We will look-out for each other, be the voice of motivation and reassurance, whilst watching out for those who may be struggling.

This will be a very hard challenge, but worth every step and every mile to raise money together as one, for our local mental health services.


Good luck to all our amazing Staff and Volunteers taking on this inspired challenge. You can do it! If you’d like to show your support, please make a small donation here: Manchester Mind Yorkshire Three Peaks

Thank you for caring and making a difference. Your contribution means we can continue to make it easier for local people to find help for their mental health.


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