Cycling for mental health research and museums
Tomorrow I’ll be riding the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 to raise money for two fantastic small charities.
The McPin Foundation places the lived experience of people affected by mental health problems at the heart of research methods and the research agenda. Having collaborated with them I know that lived experience is vital in shaping research so that it directly impacts on mental health policy and practice.
Raised funds will help them support people with mental health problems back into work. It will also help them tackle the stigma of mental illness – so people are not afraid to seek help because of what others will say about them or how they will behave towards them. Raised funds will evaluate the impact of new ideas and solutions to help keep people well – we need better treatments and support for mental health. More specifically all the money I raise for them is being matched by the foundation £1 for £1 to set up a PhD fellowship in memory of a mum who took her own life last year. Her family and friends ran the London Marathon 2016 for McPin and achieved a third of the target funds. So your donation will go to this project to fund an award so we can further our understanding of depression to save lives in the future threatened by suicide. The PhD award will be advertised competitively to find a high calibre student to undertake the research, and an essential criteria will be their own lived experience of mental health problems. This a very specific focus for McPin – providing opportunities for people with mental health problems who want a career in research.
I am also raising funds for the Ripon Museum Trust, which runs three small museums in my home city of Ripon, North Yorkshire. A Victorian Workhouse, Courthouse and Prison & Police Museum tell the story of Victorian law and order with vivid and evocative exhibits. Staffed by volunteers, these museums are a vital reminder of the importance today of the welfare state and a humane criminal justice system.
Our social work students visit each year to spend a day learning about the development of the welfare state and the origins of contemporary social care services. Learning is an integral part of the mission of the museums, and they host visits from hundreds of schools and higher education institutions each year. Please donate to support the work of their volunteers who provide learning opportunities and insights from our past as a vivid reminder of the importance of the welfare state.
My training for the ride is now complete and I’m looking forward to get on my bike tomorrow to ride the 100 mile course through London and into Surrey. I’ll be riding with 26,000 other riders, most of whom will also be raising money for charity. I’ve got a bit further to go towards my £1000 target for these two charities, so any support will be appreciated.