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Three leaders of the Step Up Challenge stand on the coastline

PRESS RELEASE: Step Up Challenge Total Announced

The Step Up Challenge raises a further £38,000!

We all need some good news after this week’s announcement from the Prime Minister. It will most certainly have a detrimental effect on many people’s mental wellbeing.

And this might just be the good news that local charity Dorset Mind needs to hear! Bournemouth nightclub owners, Ty Temel of Halo and Benjamin Reynolds of Lost Paradise and Fitness Coach and Poole Town Captain Jamie Whisken announce the final total of a second fundraiser for the charity since lockdown started. This takes the total raised by the three to over £80,000. A phenomenal amount making a huge difference when Dorset Mind, like many charities, has seen a reduction in income.

Timed to coincide with the second lockdown, the new challenge was quite literally a ‘Step Up’ from the first.  It asked people to complete one million steps in fifty days, finishing just before Christmas. The ‘Step Up Challenge’ worked out as an average of 20,000 steps per day. It was for people with a competent level of fitness. Whilst giving almost 200 people a focus in the second lockdown, this challenge was considerably tougher than the first. It drew heavily on the resilience and the camararderie of the local community to keep motivated over a longer period.

Our Step Up Challenge Leaders respond

Ty said 2020 was overwhelming for many reasons, but ‘The June 500’ and ‘The Step Up Challenge’ are two positives that will stick firmly in my memory. These fundraising challenges were created by myself and two close friends during a time of real adversity.

The Step Up Challenge was targeted at raising awareness and money for Dorset Mind, a local mental health charity that had a gap in funding because of the pandemic. A timely blow, because this is when their services were needed most.

We created a community when people felt most isolated, a reason to get outdoors and moving and to keep physically and mentality fit. It opened up a new lifestyle balance to me, that I will learn from, let alone others.

The feedback has been heartwarming and it was especially rewarding to see everyone getting out and enjoying the outdoors. We’re overjoyed that we could play some part in helping with mental well-being in our local community. 

A sincere thanks to all involved. Everyone that took part, donated, helped or support one way or another.”

Focus and resilience

Benjamin added, “Like the June 500, the aim was to help create a focus, get us moving – a lot – and build a community spirit at a time of so much separation and uncertainty.

I am extremely proud of everyone who participated! It was physically much harder than we anticipated. The gyms being closed turned into a blessing by pushing us outside into the full glory of Mother Nature. We experienced some monster sunrises (apologies for the Instagram spam) and rainstorms. 

It’s been a challenging year and now more then ever we want to keep increasing the conversations about mental health in our community and inspire people to open up and take some action to better wellbeing.”

Jamie adds, I’m so excited that after the success of The June 500 that we are able to bring another successful challenge to the table.

Once again this kept many people mentally focused and physically challenged through a couple of even tougher months, during a time of year when many struggle. So many embraced it and it was a pleasure to be a part of.

It’s my absolute passion and I love to witness people working on improving themselves daily & this is exactly what this did, mentally as much as physically.”

Our response

Dorset Mind’s Chief Executive, Marianne Storey comments, “The timing of this second fundraiser couldn’t have been more appropriate. We’ve seen nine incredibly tough months that have had a devastating impact on people’s mental health. The announcement of a further lockdown will certainly see further deterioration of mental wellbeing for those already suffering or recently diagnosed – and for many others who haven’t previously experienced mental health concerns are likely to find this further lockdown during the winter months much harder than the previous two .

The first pot of funding from these local business leaders kept us afloat during the first 6 months of lockdown last year when we saw our funding drastically cut as organisations closed and our community fundraising and training income streams dried up.

Men’s mental health

The money raised in this second challenge we’re reserving to help create and deliver support specifically targetted at men. We know that many men tend not to talk about their mental health and reach out for help when they are struggling – as a result, they are three times as likely to take their own lives than women. And this is something that we at Dorset Mind are extremely passionate about breaking the stigma around.

Future plans

We must create ways and means that encourage men to talk about, seek and find help when they need it. We simply must ensure that men know that there are many many alternatives to suicide, and we must provide the right kinds of support so that men can talk and build resilience as early as possible.

Dorset Mind has created a focus group, of which Ty is central – this is something that he’s also extremely passionate about, having witnessed first-hand how devastating it is to lose friends and family to mental health and suicide.

We’re so grateful to our three challenge leaders, the challenge sponsors Running Free and Osprey Europe and everyone that took part or very kindly donated. We hope to announce our plans imminently.”

Motivation and talking

Dorset Mind Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, Dr Andy Mayers, added, “We are truly grateful to Ty, Ben and Jamie for raising so much funding for us a at time we need it most. I am inspired by their dedication and motivation to keep this going through such difficult times. I know that Ty has personal reasons for has passion for mental health, but he has used that motivation in a positive way. All too often, men find it hard to talk about emotions and mental health. The Step Up challenge went a long way to encourage more men to talk and seek help. A great deal of my own work focuses on men’s mental health. This excellent endeavor will help reinforce campaigns to reduce the distress so many men face, often without support”

For more information about the support Dorset Mind currently offers across Dorset, or if you would like to contribute or volunteer to help this essential charity, please see Dorset Mind’s website:

Special thanks from Dorset Mind to our founders of The Step Up Challenge.  Additional thanks to Melanie Campbell of MoreROAR Marketing for her experience supporting the campaign.

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