Headteacher steps out to raise £1,300 and counting for children’s mental health charity

A ROYTON headteacher braved sun, rain and heavy hailstones to step out and raise more than £1,300 for a children’s mental health charity.

Hilary Henderson, who is head at St Paul’s Primary School, took on the fundraising initiative for Place2Be, which works with pupils, families and staff in schools across the UK.

The charity set a challenge inviting people to ‘Step Out’ and walk a mile a day for 31 days to raise funds.

Mrs Henderson, determined to help as children’s mental health issues have risen during the pandemic, took on the challenge – and completed it in just four days.

Mrs Henderson running around the school’s Daily Mile Track for the Step Out challenge

She explained: “I am passionate about children’s well-being because every child deserves to have hope for the future.

“As it was mental health awareness week, I wanted to challenge myself to complete this task in one week.

“I set out to run around our Daily Mile Track at school 225 times which equates to 31 miles.

“The whole school joined me at different times over the four afternoons in separate classes to run, walk, clap and cheer.

“This included the site manager, office staff and teaching staff who have all contributed laps, including one staff member who did the whole lap on crutches!

“Everyone came outside as a whole school in their class bubbles to mark the final few laps. The last lap I actually ‘sprinted’ to a cacophony of enthusiastic support.

“I am blessed to have a truly supportive school family. I am not a ‘runner’ and so this has been a personal challenge, knowing the importance of supporting children’s mental health.

“Thank you to everyone who had supported me through sun, rain and heavy hailstorms.

“This has inspired and motivated children to continue the challenge themselves and use the daily mile track proactively to support their physical and mental health and well-being.”

So far Mrs Henderson has raised more than £1,300 and counting for the charity, and her Just Giving page will stay open for donations until the end of May.

A donation of £30 could pay for a vulnerable family to get support from a mental health professional.

And £100 could help 14 children to reach Place2Be and talk about their fears, anxieties and low mood.

Mrs Henderson added: “With so much uncertainty in the world, children and young people need emotional support now more than ever.

“During lockdown, Place2Be have been working tirelessly to provide support to children and families who need them most. With our support, they can continue to be there for families.

“We are faced with an ever-increasing number of children displaying various levels of mental health issues, particularly relating to anxiety, fears and low mood.

“They also face fears due to underlying health conditions and bereavement, and stress due to being absent from one of the ‘safe’ places where there is consistency and routine.”

You can still support Hilary and Place2Be by making a donation on her Just Giving page: https://tinyurl.com/4cen6p7d

Find out more about Place2Be on their website: www.place2be.org.uk

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