Third Wellmeadow Walkathon is a Great Success
Date: Tuesday 8 August
Organisers of the annual Wellmeadow Walkathon have thanked everyone who supported this year’s event, which took place over the weekend of August 5th and 6th and which aims to increase awareness of and reduce the stigma around mental health and wellbeing.
The event saw 160 people - and 16 dogs - from 36 groups, organisations and businesses in the town take it turns to walk around the town centre focal point for a one-hour slot, raising more than £5300, with donations still coming in.
Hosted by Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust, the Wellmeadow Walkathon raises funds for Jordan’s Challenge which was set up in 2021 by east Perthshire mum Susan Hart in memory of her son Jordan, who died by suicide just days before his 17th birthday.
Along with her husband Gavin and daughter Bethany – and thanks to the support of the local community in Blairgowrie and Rattray and beyond – the family has now raised more than £25,000 for a series of 57 benches in and around the town - the last six of which will be installed this year - and to support a mental health and wellbeing outreach services in the town to support those in crisis.
The ‘Happy to chat, happy to listen’ bench trails in Blairgowrie, Rattray and around the Cateran Trail provide a space where people can come together and talk, helping to reduce social isolation and encouraging people to get out and about.
Each of the groups and organisations who took part in the inaugural walkathon in 2021 were invited to decorate or design something to go on a bench, which all have plaques with the walkathon logo – designed by Jordan’s friend Holly Richardson – and the name of the group or organisation on it.
They are numbered and a map detailing their locations is available online so that people can follow the bench trail visiting as many as they wish to.
The mental health and wellbeing hub, currently located in a specially designated room in the BaRI building on Blairgowrie High Street, offers a free space to any mental health and wellbeing related services.
Among the groups that already use the space are Perth and Kinross Council’s Wellbeing Support Team, a mental health art group, the Women’s Walk and Chat group, the Cuppa and a Cake group, Churches Action for the Homeless, Barnardos, Mindspace and The Samaritans.
It is hoped that through fundraising at events such as the Wellmeadow Walkathon and the ‘#KeepTalkingForJordan’ event on his birthday, the service will be able to expand to include a sensory room and other facilities that would support the groups that use it.
Speaking at the end of an emotional 24 hours, Susan said: “We would like to say a huge, heartfelt thanks to the community who showed up once again to support the walkathon this year, or who sponsored those who took part - we are so incredibly grateful.
“Thanks also to the Walker family, our friends and family, Discover Blairgowrie, and in particular Sam from BRDT for everything she has done for us over the last two and half years, we couldn’t have achieved what we have done without them.
“Thanks to The Wee Coffee Shop for providing walkathon-ers with bacon rolls and hot drinks on Sunday morning, Number 31s and The Dome for providing hot drinks on Saturday night and Sunday morning respectively, to Goodfellows for providing the rolls and Irvine’s for providing the bacon.
“Thanks to everyone’s efforts at the weekend we have raised an incredible £5300, with more donations still to come in, which is just fantastic and a huge boost to the work we are trying to do in memory of Jordan.”
Efforts to establish the mental health and wellbeing hub in the town are being coordinated by BRDT through its community engagement work.
Sam Stewart, community engagement coordinator with BRDT, said: “BRDT supports community groups, individuals, and volunteers to deliver projects to enhance the town for the benefit of all, and the Wellmeadow Walkathon, the bench trail and the mental health and wellbeing hub are fantastic examples of that in action.
“It’s a real privilege for the Trust to be able to support the Hart family and the wider community in their efforts.
“The Happy to chat, Happy to Listen Bench Trails are proving to be a popular addition to the town, enjoyed by local people and visitors to the area alike, and a number of groups such as the Women’s Walk and Chat group and get-togethers like the weekly cuppa and a cake sessions are already using the building, which is great.
“However, there is still a long way to go.
“We know that services want to provide outreach in towns like Blairgowrie and Rattray but often can’t afford to hire the space, particularly in the current economic climate, so being able to support them by providing a space for them can make a real difference.”
Amongst the groups, organisations and businesses that took part were 2519 (Strathmore) Squadron, The Victoria Hotel, the BaRI volunteers, Blairgowrie and Rattray Access Network (BRAN), Blairgowrie Players, CraicN Communications, Ericht Holiday Lodges, BBWs, Rattray Primary School, the Our Heritage Group, Tom McEwan and family, Something Special Flowers, Wetherspoons, BaRI Food Store, Pete Richardson First Aid Perthshire, Blairgowrie and District Climate Cafe, Bob Brawn, Mitchell’s Newsagents, The Wee Coffee Shop, The Heat Project, Blairgowrie and Rattray Illuminations Committee, PKAVS Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub - Wisecraft, Women’s Walk and Chat, Blairgowrie and District Rotary, Tesco, The Angus Hotel, Evolution Combat Sport, the Doukars, the Linda Tosh Dancers, the Co-op, Blair in Bloom, the Wellmeadow Walkathon team, and the Hart Family themselves.
For further information or to donate, go online at www.discoverblairgowrie.co.uk/walkathon
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