At a time when the usual sports events are being written off the calendar, and social distancing becoming a kind of norm, acts of kindness really can make a difference for us all to connect with others during the pandemic.
A key theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 22nd May) is “be kind”. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community, and generally helps us all cope better with a more difficult time. It could be seen as being a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. It’s a fact that those with existing mental health conditions are struggling more than usual, while many who have never experienced mental health issues before are experiencing anxieties for the first time. We know this from the increased calls for support that we have received from young sportspeople over the last few weeks.
Here at Sporting Minds UK, we continue to be blown away by the energy and kindness of our supporters in the form of fundraising. It’s the type of support welcomed by charities nationwide, as due to current and continuing restrictions most of our usual methods of fundraising activities are put on hold.
So in the last couple of months we were thrilled to hear that Holyport College in Berkshire nominated our charity to be the recipients of a fantastic £400 from a before lockdown pupil charity day. We’ve been holding our own virtual fundraising quizzes, our ongoing supporters Blackthorn’s accountants are holding an online Quiz this very evening (20th), and inspiring friends of Sporting Minds UK are getting involved in some amazing fundraising activities over the coming weeks!
An great example is Callum Stedman, who at just 16 is already a very promising International Triathlete. Callum has pledged to swim, cycle or run one kilometre for every pound that he raises for Sporting Minds UK, and he has pledged to continue for as long as the donations keep coming in.
Alongside training seven days a week, usually working in a Triathlon Shop (TriHarder) and a local pub, Callum attends Reepham College where he is studying Business, PE and Sociology A Levels. On the surface, Callum is well known for being one of the liveliest and confident people you could meet. Yet, underneath that it is a different story – Callum has struggled with depression and anxiety for the past few years. He has personal experience of the pressures that being a young elite athlete brings, the mental strain and lack of self belief that can come with the otherwise highs that his sport usually provides.
A short while ago Callum talked personally about his mental health issues with our founder Callum Lea, and then started seeing a counsellor on a weekly basis. Callum told us “This amazing support has helped tremendously with both my mental and physical wellbeing. And the great news is that I now feel feel able to throw myself back into training properly, knowing that the personal support will be there when needed. So to raise money for the charity that helped me through my tougher times, I begin my fundraising challenge for Sporting Minds UK on the 25th May – wish me luck!”.
We all know an act of kindness can really lift someone’s mood, and usually also goes on to inspire others to make acts of kindness of their own – so we could also be in the middle of a kindness pandemic! Thank you so much Callum, your support will go on to enable us to help others.
Donations to Callum’s Triathlon fundraising for Sporting Minds UK can be made via this link:
Callum Stedman Fundraising Page
Beverley Ashton, Sporting Minds UK Team
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