Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 30 April 2021
AN ELMESTHORPE-BASED author is set to take on two 5km walks barefoot to support a local mental health charity.
Stewart Bint, a Leicestershire author who lives a barefoot lifestyle, will be taking part in two 5km barefoot walks throughout the month of May, on 10 May and 16 May during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, for Lamp (Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project).
The mental health charity recently launched the Lamp 5K campaign, which helps promote the positive effects of physical exercise on mental health.
They are hoping to recruit 8,000 people across Leicestershire and Rutland to partake in the campaign by either running, walking, riding, or rolling 5km during Mental Health Awareness Week, in hopes they will raise funds for them to support their services.
Stewart is a mental health advocate and he has been since 1997, when he suffered a crisis 24 years ago, which led to him being hospitalised for a total of 10 weeks.
He said: “I’ve been passionate about mental health after suffering a crisis in 1997, which led to me being hospitalised for 10 weeks.
“When I learned of Lamp’s 5k event, it seemed an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of Lamp and demonstrate how regular exercise helps me.
“As an avid walker, I felt 5km would be too easy for me personally; so, as I go barefoot as much as possible for both mental and physical health reasons, I set myself the challenge of doing two 5km walks in bare feet during Mental Health Awareness Week, with one on the opening day, and one on the closing day.”
Whilst the challenge of completing a 5km walk is a fun one, there is a serious message behind it.
Lamp, who help people access mental health services, have reported an upsurge in demand for its helpline, advocacy services, and online resources throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The average number of calls per month had doubled by October 2020 and the annual target for advocacy support from April 2020 to March 2021, was reached last year, months ahead of its original schedule.
Greg Hollingsworth, Ambassador for Lamp, said: “We’re delighted to hear about Stewart’s plans for the Lamp5k and hope his routes aren’t too tough on his feet! People can do the 5km however they want – cycle it, run it or walk it – with or without shoes!
“The important thing is to raise awareness of the benefits to our mental health of physical exercise.”
The mental health charity are inviting people to its website, linked here, to find out how to take part, log their 5km, and download a fundraising pack.
Pre-existing Strava groups have already been created which people can join, dedicated to the Lamp 5k event.
Local businesses are already backing the campaign by throwing their weight behind it, including lead sponsor Hinckley and Rugby Building Society.