Chariots of Fire 2009 puts spotlight on mental health

Cam-mind, Cambridge’s longest established mental health charity, has been chosen to receive the funds raised from this year’s Chariots of Fire charity relay race.

 The race started out as a modest fun run in 1992 and has since grown substantially with 420 teams of 6 runners taking part last year. The event was inspired by the famous film of the same name and takes its 1.7 mile course through Cambridge town centre, college grounds and along the backs. Over the last 17 years, over £700,000 has been raised for different charities. 

Cam-mind provides a range of services for local people experiencing mental health problems, including supported housing, one-to-one be-friending, skills-building and social activities. It is also committed to tackling the stigma and discrimination that is so often a major barrier to recovery from mental illness. Mental health problems can affect anyone and include conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, amongst many others. Currently within Cambridgeshire, at least 1 in 4 people are affected by a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Aly Anderson, Development Manager at Cam-mind commented, “The money will be used primarily to fund our befriending service. This links up a service user with a volunteer ‘befriender’, who then provides them with regular support on their road to recovery.” 

“The sponsorship money raised will allow us to expand our service within the region and to reach out to more individuals living isolated lives. It will also fund the ongoing training and support services necessary to maintain the entire befriending service.” She added that a proportion of the funds would also go towards Cam-mind’s wide range of community groups and activities, together with an innovative new project designed to help local employers tackle the increasing problem of stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace. 

The event is sponsored by leading law firm Hewitsons, along with its media partner The News. Charles Hewitson, Race Director and Senior Partner at Hewitsons added, “Mental health is a very topical issue and it was for this reason that we have chosen Cam-mind as this year’s charity.” “This is an excellent charity which reaches out to some of the most isolated people living in our area and supports them on their journey back to an active, fulfilled life within the community. The money raised will make a huge difference to them.” 

Chariots of Fire will take place on Sunday 20 September, starting from Queens’ Green in Cambridge. The event will be launched on 12 May and teams can register to run in the race. For further information please call Hazel Kraus on 01223 461155. Photo left to right: Aly Anderson (Cam-mind), Hannah Turner (Cam-mind), Marley Johnson (Cam-mind), Jane Lazell (Cam-mind), Charles Hewitson (Cam-mind)