Norfolk Superheroes take on gruelling physical challenge to support positive mental health in Norfolk
It’s widely accepted that there is a link between physical activity and the positive effect it can have on our mental wellbeing. Whether it’s a leisurely walk, run, bike ride or a more vigorous work out at the gym, exercise is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.
In June, the Norfolk Superhero Challenge will see its participants swimming, paddling, cycling and running their way around a quadrathlon course, whilst raising money to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing across the county.
The gruelling event, now in its 11th year, will take place on Saturday 17 June at Burnham Overy Staithe in North Norfolk. The Superheroes will take part in a mile long swim, a four mile kayak, 45 mile cycle and finish with an eight mile run.
Over the last three years, participants have raised over £200,000 between them to support local charities and this year, organisers Sophie Ellis and Jess Lapping have launched the Norfolk Superhero Foundation. As well as supporting the One to One Project, The Matthew Project, Swaffham Family Action and Headway Norfolk & Waveney, they are working with Norfolk Community Foundation who will be inviting applications from smaller local organisations working in the mental health arena who are seeking funding for their community projects under the themes of ‘growing healthy young minds’ and ‘recovery, rehabilitation and moving forward positively.’
Sophie said “Our interest in the area of mental health has come about because we are noticing more and more problems stemming from the absence of proper communication and discussion around mental health issues, which affect all of us from, the young, right through to the elderly. Problems can range from low lying anxiety to drug and alcohol related illnesses. We all know people who have been affected by mental health issues. It is all very well looking after ourselves physically but we must not forget to care for ourselves mentally too.”
The Norfolk Superhero Challenge started in 2007 as a group of friends getting together and attempting a ‘quadrathlon’ (triathlon plus kayaking). It has grown year on year to become a firm fixture in the calendar amongst the county’s fitness fanatics as well as anyone who likes to take part in a challenge.
About this year’s charities:
- Headway Norfolk and Waveney, involved in understanding all aspects of acquired brain injury. The charity promotes independence and rehabilitation by providing information and support services directly to people with acquired brain injury, their families and carers.
- One to One Project, provides long term professional support to adults in West Norfolk who are experiencing emotional and or social distress and mental health difficulties.
- The Matthew Project, supports youths and adults across Norfolk with drug and alcohol related issues.
- Swaffham Family Action, providing support for families that are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation.
Charities and community groups working in the field of mental health and wellbeing will also be able to apply for small grants from the pot of money raised by the superheroes who take part.
Anna Douglas, at Norfolk Community Foundation said “We are delighted to be working with Jess and Sophie and the Norfolk Superhero Foundation to help them get the money raised to those who need it most. 1 in 4 people will suffer from ill mental health at some point in their life and grassroots local support is a lifeline for people with nowhere else to turn. These groups play a vital role in supporting the wider delivery provided by hospitals and the Trusts.”
To find out more about the Norfolk Superhero Challenge visit the website www.norfolksuperhero.co.uk.
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