MenWalkTalk: West Sussex mental health charity’s walkathon proves an eye-opener

Supporters of West Sussex mental health charity MenWalkTalk spread the word about its work on a sponsored walk from Bognor Regis Pier to Brighton Palace Pier.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:25 am

MenWalkTalk, which received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award in July, was founded by Littlehampton man Matt Pollard to support men’s mental and physical wellbeing through exercise and open conversations.

Matt said the walkathon not only gave them the opportunity to meet people and speak about the support the charity can offer, it highlighted to volunteers how important that can be.

He explained: “During the walk, one volunteer was approached by two parents, bereaved by suicide, who said ‘if only there was something like this charity a few years ago, our son might still be here’.

Celebrations at Brighton Pier at the end of the MenWalkTalk Walkathon

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“Comments like this really touch all of our volunteers and supporters’ hearts. We know people still choose suicide and we’re sad about this but we will continue to get out and meet people every week to let guys know they are not alone.”

The 26.2-mile walkathon raised £1,835 for MenWalkTalk to help it continue its work organising walks and talks across Sussex, as well as groups in Rugby and Bassetlaw and a weekly online social for guys across the UK.

Matt said: “The walk took just over nine hours, finishing at Brighton Palace Pier with crowds of people cheering the team on. It felt incredible, seeing so many people cheering and waving at us.

MenWalkTalk supporters at Bognor Regis Pier for the start of the walkathon

“During the day, we were joined by many family and friends, who offered snacks and motivation along the whole route, with a huge crowd at Lancing Green cheering us on while volunteers were distributing MenWalkTalk tote bags to raise even more awareness of the cause.

“It was a really great day. We had so much support from our friends, family and the local community and we are so grateful for the donations received. This will help the charity to continue to grow its offer and awareness, so that men don’t feel isolated with their mental health. We’re here to listen, we’re here to help.”

For more information about the MenWalkTalk charity, visit www.MenWalkTalk.co.uk or find them on social media @MenWalkTalk

For crisis support, call Samaritans on 116 123.