Mind in Croydon

Positive Steps 2015

Positive Steps 2015,

Well the weatherman predicted rain all day. Which shows how much he knows! Whilst we did get a little sprinkling of the wet stuff it didn’t dampen the spirits of everyone involved in this year’s Mind in Croydon Positive Steps Walk. Now in its third year Positive Steps is all about raising awareness of mental health, bringing down some of the barriers people face but mainly to have fun and feel good.

On the day we had over 20 willing volunteers to man the stewarding points, register walkers, generally move, carry and organise, and at one point even hold down the gazebo while we tried to secure it in what felt like a hurricane. Our volunteers were joined by 52 walkers, 30-40 supporters and well-wishers and thanks to a bouncy castle and face painting, generously supplied by Croydon Heart Town, a lot of passing families – although it was at times difficult to remove Mind in Croydon staff from the bouncy castle in order to let the smaller children have a go.

Once we had everything laid out, put up and tied down the day began with a passionate talk from Kevin Day. His honesty and emotion when talking about the challenges his family have recently faced moved everyone assembled but he still found the time in his introduction to be very funny.

The following drum and dance workshop provided by Mango Tree Fit got everyone in the mood for the day. I can definitely recommend a bit of drumming to raise your spirits and loosen the muscles.

And then they were off, our hardy walkers ranging from twins aged five to a Mind in Croydon volunteer aged 74 set off to cover 15km of Lloyd Park cheered on by the gathered crowd. The walkers supported each other as well as receiving encouragement from the stewards dotted around the course and other people out enjoying the park.

Barely an hour later the front runners (or rather walkers) passed the 5km mark and embarked on their second lap. With people joining after the official start it was sometimes difficult to tell who was where but as it wasn’t a race that really didn’t matter. In a very respectable time the last of the walkers passed the 5km mark, some opting to continue, and some retiring having reached their personal goal. The wonderful thing about splitting the 15km into 3 laps is that people who perhaps are less agile or marshalling children can set their own target, receive the coveted Positive Steps medal and feel that sense of achievement.

And then all too soon it was over, all the walkers safe and accounted for, stewards back at base for a welcome cup of tea, last few members of Mind in Croydon staff removed from the bouncy castle and plans for next year already being discussed.

With huge thanks to Croydon Council, Croydon Heart Town, Mango Tree Fit, Striders, LV, Veolia, Cheap Leaflets,  The Radio Company and Kevin Day. But the biggest thanks must go to all of the volunteers who make this event possible and all of the walkers for helping to end mental health stigma

See you next year?

Peter

(Photo’s from the event can be seen on Facebook)

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