Call out for volunteers on World Mental Health Day


On World Mental Health Day (10 October) a call out is being made for volunteers to come forward and act as support buddies to help people in Northumberland with mental health issues to become physically active.

Being Active Matters is an innovative new scheme that is looking for volunteers who could extend a hand of friendship and buddy with someone who wants to become more physically active in order to improve their mental wellbeing.  

Volunteers can commit for as many or as few hours as they wish in an activity of their choice and training will be provided. Activities could include walking, running, visits to the gym, a game of golf or even just kicking a ball around.

Every year one adult in four, along with one child in ten, will have a mental health issue. These conditions can profoundly affect literally millions of lives, affecting the capability of these individuals to make it through the day, to sustain relationships, and to maintain work.

Gordon Allan, the Project Champion for Being Active Matters,  whose wife Sally took her own life on Boxing Day 2015, was responsible for the project idea and brought the partners and funding together.

Gordon said:   “ We know sport and exercise can have a really positive effect on mental as well as physical health.  However, that first step to becoming physically active can often be daunting particularly for individuals who may be anxious and lacking in self confidence.
“ We are recruiting volunteers to support individuals on a one to one basis to identify an activity that is right for them and assist them to overcome any barriers to participation.
“ If you have an activity you would like to share with someone else, we’d love to hear from you.”

Being Active Matters has received £142,000 funding from Sport England and £30,000 from Northumberland County Council with further support coming from Hexham and Alnwick Town Councils.

Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said:
“We know that the benefits of sport and exercise are not just physical. Regular physical activity is great for the mind and our mental health. It can improve mood, lift self-esteem and reduce stress.”

The Being Active Matters project is being  piloted in north and west northumberland and two  members of staff have just been employed to coordinate the volunteers for the project - one  based in Hexham and the other in Alnwick.

To find out more, please contact
Karen Renner 07483326881 / KRenner@tmnorthumberland.org.uk if you live in North Northumberland
Helen Brown on 07483991835 / HBrown@tmnorthumberland.org.uk  if you live in West Northumberland
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