Bournemouth based running enthusiast Peter Thompson has set himself an immense personal challenge: On April 1st 2017, he will embark on an epic adventure and attempt to complete 44 marathons, in 44 days, in 44 countries.
Called ‘Marathons for the Mind’ his challenge is to raise awareness and funds for mental health, supporting the charities: Livability who run the Dorset based wellbeing discovery centre Livability Holton Lee and MIND. The runner met with HRH The Princess Royal at a charity event this week and raised profile for his challenge.
Peter is passionate about supporting people living with mental health. As a staff member at a local support service in Poole, he has been inspired by the work of the Flourish project at Livability Holton Lee, seeing first-hand the positive impact it has had on the people he has referred to the project.
Flourish is a gardening therapy programme for disabled people and people living with mental illness. Using the gardens in the expansive wellbeing discovery centre of Livability Holton Lee – activities include horticulture, conservation, woodworking, garden maintenance and landscaping. The project supports 60 people each week and helps people grow in confidence, new skills, wellbeing and friendships. 98% of people that attended Flourish in a year reported an increase in skills and social connections.
Peter has launched his campaign by attending a royal event at Livability Holton Lee. Attended by Livability’s patron – HRH The Princess Royal – the event was held to mark the official opening of a new service at the site – the Livability Spinal Injury Centre.
The day also celebrated other important work at the beautiful 350 acre wellbeing discover centre – including the Flourish programme. Peter met with HRH and was interviewed by Adam Bonner – Livability’s Executive Director for Public Engagement during the ceremony. Peter received well wishes from the project’s participants, volunteers and supporters.
‘In terms of my own experiences of mental health I have had many friends and family members who have and who still suffer from, a variety of mental health conditions. I have seen how debilitating this can be, and how frustrating it can be to see services stretched, with the right support often extremely hard to come by.
‘I would not want to belittle or patronise people with long term mental health issues by suggesting I have suffered seriously myself, but like most of us I can say that I have certainly experienced moments and periods of my life where I feel I have had to reach out for the support of others. This has been more apparent within the last year or so and this challenge is very much a way for me to move forward and take a positive outcome from these experiences.’
‘We are delighted that Peter has chosen to support Livability by attempting this amazing challenge. Livability is a charity that is passionate about tackling barriers that can cause people to be isolated. We know that growing awareness for and supporting people with mental illness is an essential part of this.
Through our work at Livability Holton Lee, we put this in to action – creating a place of wellbeing, community and inclusion through the horticulture and woodland projects we run. We are proud that through such projects we are seeing people who live with mental illness report improved levels of wellbeing and social connection. We’re deeply humbled that Peter has chosen such a challenging way in which to help promote this vital and important work.’
Find out more about how you can support Peter’s challenge here.