A local runner is set to take part in Sunday’s London Marathon to raise vital funds for a Burnham and Highbridge charity that provides mental health support. 

James Smith will be taking on the 26.2-mile challenge to raise funds for In Charley’s Memory.

James is an experienced marathon runner and has been posting updates on social media with tips and insight into what it takes to train for the event.

He says the mental health benefits of exercise are great: “I always feel, whenever I get back from a run, I never feel worse, sometimes it’s hard to get out there, sometimes you’ve got to get up early, sometimes you’re tired, you never feel worse, honestly. You feel a sense of achievement.”

“If you’re kind of worried about starting, just get out there – one foot in front of the other, walk to start with.”

“Obviously, the physical health benefits are there but what it does for your mind, the freedom, the space to think, the time to put things in perspective is massive.”

“It’s a well proven link as well, mental health with running or any kind of exercise really.” You can watch James’ video updates on the ICM YouTube channel here.

In Charley’s Memory have undergone dramatic changes in the recent times with the completion of eight new counselling rooms at their site in Highbridge.

The purpose-built rooms provide a comfortable and confidential environment to offer much needed, low-cost counselling to young people and adults in the community.

There was already a great need for low-cost mental health services in the area, but the effects of Covid and lockdowns on young people’s mental health has meant that they have seen demand for their service triple since 2019.

What started on Charley’s mum’s sofa has now become a place helping 135 clients per week.

Unfortunately, due to increased demand and spending cuts on government funded services, ICM are now the next port of call, and they too have a waiting list of nearly 60 children.

James, a former student at King Alfred School in Highbridge, adds: “The charity is  helping children and adults in our area right now and they are working tirelessly to see more and more every month. But without your generosity and the generosity of local groups and businesses they would not be able to help these people from our community.”

“I know times are so tough right now with everything that is going on with the economy, but if you are in the position to be able to donate and help ICM see more children, then they would be so grateful. If I can get our pot to £1000 then between us, we will have funded nearly 30 hours of counselling for young people in need.”

If you can help James reach his target, see the fundraising page here:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/james-smith-798?utm_term=mzeBr3k7d

 
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